Earlier we had talked about increasing the credit score, but in this chapter, we will discuss about how to freeze one’s credit report. Basically a credit freeze will allow you to seal your reports and use a personal identification number (PIN) that is known only by you and you can use it then to thaw your credit when legitimate applications for credit and services need to be processed.
The extra layer of security means that ill will people cannot establish new credit in your name even if they have your personal information. You don’t have to worry for your credit lines as freezing your credit files has no impact whatsoever on your existing lines of credits. One can continue to use them as one would have even if it was already frozen. The amount required for freezing the credit ranges from $3 to $10/person per bureau; although a couple of states have higher rates.
Victims of identity theft have attained freezes for free since past few years. But passage of economic growth, regulatory relief and consumer protection act means that bureaus must allow the adults to freeze their credit for free. The new law will also allow parents or guardians to place freezes on their children under age 16. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT WHEN YOU DO A FREEZE, YOU DO IT WITH ALL THREE BUREAUS.
Do not freeze your credit when..
your credit reports are accessed often for work or because you create new accounts with various financial institutions on a regular basis, it is not recommended that you freeze your accounts.
Credit freezes may be done online; by certified mail – return receipt requested; or by calling 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742). When calling, press 2 then follow prompts for security freeze. Check your state’s listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze. Request your freeze by certified mail. You can also freeze a child’s credit report. The information contained in this link is applicable for all three bureaus. You must first write a letter to each bureau to learn if your minor child has a credit report and if so, then you can proceed to freeze it. Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Experian credit freeze online or by calling 1-888-397-3742.
Credit freezes may be done online or by certified mail – return receipt requested. Check your state’s listing for the exact cost of your freeze. Request your credit freeze by certified mail. If your PIN is late arriving, call 1-888-298-0045. They will ask you for some ID and arrange for your PIN to be sent to you in 4-7 days. Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Equifax credit freeze by snail mail, online or by calling 1-800-685-1111 (N.Y. residents dial 1-800-349-9960).
It may be done online, by phone (1-888-909-8872) or by certified mail – return receipt requested. Check your state’s listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze. Request your freeze by certified mail. Please note the attachments you must include. Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your TransUnion credit freeze online or by calling 1-888-909-8872.
How a Security Freeze Works
Your report contains information about your payment patterns that creditors and lenders use to make credit decisions about you. When you freeze your report, creditors and lenders can’t pull your credit report or score, the numeric value given to your report unless you’ve provided the credit bureau a password to unlock your report. Since most banks require a credit check, an application for credit would likely be denied. You can freeze your credit report at all three major credit bureaus, but it must be done individually.