How Do I Freeze My Credit Report?
Identity theft victims often ask us about freezing their credit report. First, what is a credit freeze? A credit freeze prevents anyone – including you – from accessing your credit file. In other words, your file is “frozen” from access by potential creditors, you and identity thieves. When a file has a freeze, anyone applying for credit using your information will not be able to get your credit report. A credit freeze is a very effective tool against identity theft for this reason. However, a freeze will not prevent your existing creditors or debt collectors for your existing accounts from accessing your credit file.
In order to freeze your credit report, you will need to contact each of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. You can place the freeze on your file online or by mail.
Generally, consumers will have to pay a nominal fee to each bureau to freeze the credit file. For example, in Texas, Experian charges $10.83 to place a freeze on a credit file. If you are a victim of identity theft, most credit bureaus will waive the freeze fee if you provide them with an identity theft report or police report. For other states, click HERE.
How do I remove a credit freeze?
When you freeze your credit report, you will receive a personal identification number (“PIN”). The PIN is required anytime you want to lift the freeze. You can remove a credit freeze online, by mail or even by telephone by proving your PIN and in most cases paying another nominal fee.
When should I freeze my credit report?
If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, you should consider freezing your credit report at all three credit bureaus. The freeze will prevent new accounts from being opened in your name without your permission. The freeze will also prevent fraudulent inquiries from appearing on your credit report and reducing your credit score. Just remember to lift the freeze so your potential creditors or employers can access your file when you are applying for new credit or employment.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that provides identity theft victims with rights and remedies. The Adkins Firm represents identity theft victims and consumers with credit report or background report errors all over the country. If you are a victim of identity theft, then you should contact an experienced ID theft lawyer. Contact us for a free case review 24/7 at 1-800-263-9091.