How Do I Freeze My Credit Report?
Clients often ask us, “How do I freeze my credit report? The answer is important and anyone who has a credit report should know how to freeze their credit file at Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Keep reading and you will learn why and how to do it yourself.
What is a credit report freeze?
In order to understand why it is so important to freeze a credit file, consumers need to know what a credit freeze is and what it does and does not do. First, when you have a credit report freeze on your file, the credit reporting agency cannot sell a credit report to any person or company in connection with an application for NEW credit. That means that any lender who is evaluating a credit application for you cannot get your credit report from the credit reporting agency that has a freeze on your file.
A credit report freeze does not prevent your existing creditors from obtaining your report. In other words, the companies who you already have an existing creditor relationship with will still be able to obtain your credit report and credit information.
A credit report freeze will also not prevent potential creditors from obtaining some identifying information about you in connection with promotional offers because those types of inquiries are exempt from the freeze. Also, employers, landlords and law enforcement are exceptions to credit report freezes and may still obtain your credit report.
How do I place a credit report freeze on each of my credit files?
Placing a freeze on your credit file is quick and easy because you can do it online. Each credit bureau has its own procedures that are set out below.
For Equifax, click HERE. Then, enter your personal identifying information and create a PIN.
For Experian, click HERE and select add a security freeze. Enter your personal identifying information and create a PIN.
For Trans Union, click HERE, then enter your personal identifying information and create a PIN.
Note, prior to freezing your reports, we recommend that you download your credit report first. Keep a copy of the report in case you need it to assist you in answering the questions asked by the credit bureaus to verfify your identity prior to placing the freeze on your file.
Also, you should keep your PINs for each credit bureau in a secure place so you can lift the credit report freeze whenever you want to apply for new credit in the future.
How much does a credit report freeze cost?
It is free to place a credit report freeze on your credit report! It is also free to lift a credit report freeze. Why? Because, in 2018, and after the massive Equifax data breach, Congress amended the Fair Credit reporting Act to allow consumers to place and lift a credit freeze on their files at Equifax, Experian and Trans Union for free. Before the law changed, the credit bureaus charged about $10 to place and $10 to lift the freeze from a consumer’s file.
What’s the downside to placing a freeze on my credit file?
We do not a downside to placing a freeze on your credit file. However, according to Experian’s website, the credit bureau does and here it is:
“A credit freeze is a free tool available to help victims of identity theft protect
themselves and their credit. But it is an extreme step, and there are some
Like what is so extreme about a credit report freeze and what are the drawbacks Experian?
“If you have a freeze on your credit report, you will need to remember to lift, or ‘thaw,’ the freeze prior to applying for credit. You’ll also need to place and remove freezes separately at each of the three national credit reporting companies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax).”
We say – Ok. So, according to Experian, placing a freeze is an extreme step because you have to remember to do it at Experian and the other two bureaus. Do you agree with Experian? We do not. Keep reading and see the upside to placing a freeze on your credit file.
What’s the upside to placing a freeze on my credit file?
The upside to adding a freeze on credit files far outweighs the drawbacks. First, it prevents identity theft. While credit monitoring tools are helpful to notify you of new inquiries, credit monitoring will not prevent the credit bureaus from selling your report to a potential creditor even if the application is the result of fraud. In other words, a freeze prevents a potential creditor from obtaining your credit report in connection with a fraudulent application.
To summarize, a credit report freeze:
- Prevents identity theft
2. Bureaus cannot sell your credit report to lenders in connection with NEW credit applications
3. No hard inquiries on identity theft victims’ files due to fraud
4. It is free!
Who can help me with credit report errors?
The Adkins Firm represents consumers who have errors on credit, employment background and tenant screening reports. Have you discovered errors on a credit, credit, employment background or tenant screening reports or background report? Have you been denied credit, employment or housing because of the errors?