How To Freeze Your Credit

The recent Equifax data breach has people everywhere angry and scrambling to check for potential identity theft and fraud. While it can be unnerving to not know how exactly this breach will effect you and your credit, it is best to stay calm and take the necessary precautions to protect your identity. Your best course of action may be to freeze your credit. This is an option that is always available to you, regardless of whether you’re a victim of the recent data breach. Freezing your credit puts a hold on any new applications that require review of your credit history. This prevents thieves from using your information to open new accounts or exploit your identity in other ways. So without further delay, let’s learn more about how to freeze your credit.

How It Works

A credit freeze is just like it sounds. It prevents any new applications or evaluations of your credit until the freeze is released. This means when your credit is “frozen,” nothing can be done with it. Your first question may be: “If my identity has potentially been compromised, how can I be sure a credit freeze is working?” The extra security layer comes in a PIN you assign to your credit account, and only you should know the number. To allow your credit to be used or reviewed, you must first allow permission by releasing or “thawing” your credit. A freeze can be temporary or long term depending on your situation and the state you live in. Any application that requires a credit review, be it a credit card or a loan for a house, cannot be completed until the freeze has been lifted.

credit-freeze-2
A recent data breech like the Equifax hack can be disturbing, but you have several options to protect yourself.

Freezing With All Three Agencies

A freeze is only effective when it is done with all three credit agencies at once. These agencies are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. In most states, a fee is required to freeze your credit or release the freeze, sometimes both. You’ll likely have to pay at some point for a freeze or release with all three agencies. Due to the recent data breach, Equifax is allowing any consumer to freeze their credit for free with their agency. No time frame has been released on when this will change. One last detail, it’s important to know that some credit freezes are automatically released after a seven year period. This is dependent on your state, and you’ll want to check this detail before finalizing a freeze on your credit.

When A Freeze Isn’t Right For You

Some people need to have their credit accessed frequently for one reason or another. In cases like this, a freeze isn’t practical and fraud monitoring services may be the better option. In addition, if you’re in the process of buying a home or vehicle, or if you’re moving to a new house or apartment, you’ll want to wait until you complete the transaction or move to freeze your credit.

credit-freeze-3

Instructions For Each Agency

Equifax

We’ll start with the black sheep of the group. Equifax is a company that is receiving a lot of ire from consumers and especially a lot of credit freezing requests. While the volume of traffic on their website has lessened some lately, you should still expect a delay in the processing of your freeze, especially if you’re doing it by mail. Keep trying if you don’t get through right away. Currently all Equifax freezes are free, but there may be a fee to release the freeze later.

Online Freeze Requests Can Be Found Here:

Equifax Credit Freeze

Freeze Requests By Mail Can Be Submitted To:

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

TransUnion

The other two credit agencies are receiving a higher than normal freeze request rate due to the Equifax breach, and you may experience some delay if calling by phone or requesting a freeze by mail. You’ll be charged a small fee for the freeze with TransUnion, and the exact amount depends on your state.

Online Freeze Requests Can Be Found Here:

TransUnion Credit Freeze

Freeze Requests By Mail Can Be Submitted To:

TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Experian

It is the same deal with Experian, and you may experience some degree of delay, but your freezes should be processed relatively quickly. Again fees may be imposed depending on the state you live in, so have your credit card ready.

Online Freeze Requests Can Be Found Here:

Experian Credit Freeze

Freeze Requests By Mail Can Be Submitted To:

Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

Final Thoughts On How To Freeze Your Credit

The thought of identity theft can be pretty depressing, but there are a few measures you can take to protect yourself. Fraud monitoring and credit freezes are the two most popular ways of evaluating and protecting yourself against potential identity theft. In addition, Square State Insurance provides Identity Theft Insurance that can be use to help cover costs should your identity be compromised. Contact us today to learn more about how you may be able to bundle it with other existing coverage.

Would You Like Us To Review Your Policies?

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Drop files here or
    Max. file size: 39 MB.

    Request Your Proposal Here

    Are you ready to save time, aggravation, and money? The team at Square State Insurance is here and ready to make the process as painless as possible. We look forward to meeting you!

    Call Email Text Reviews
    Click Here To Schedule A Call With Us Schedule Call
    ×
    Skip to content