Credit Freeze / Security Freeze

credit freezeA credit freeze (sometimes called a security freeze, credit report freeze or credit lock) makes an individuals credit report inaccessible. They are mostly used by consumers who are the victim of identity theft that want to prevent the thieves from starting new lines of credit in their names. This works because creditors will pull an individuals credit report before approving them for new credit, if they are unable to pull the credit report due to a credit freeze they’ll know something is suspicious and the application will be denied. Freezes also prevent credit scores (such as the FICO score) from being accessed as these are based on an individuals credit report.

When an individual places a freeze on their credit report, they’ll be provided with a PIN or password which needs to be used whenever they want to: unfreeze the report for a specific period of time, allow a specific third party (e.g employer, creditor, insurer, etc) to access the report or remove the freeze entirely. Whenever one of these actions is performed the individual will need to prove their entity along with providing this PIN/password.

Creditors that already have an existing relationship with an individual (e.g a credit card issuer whom the individual has a card with) are still able to access that individuals credit report – but this must not be used to extend new lines of credit.

Adding A Credit Freeze

For a credit freeze to be successful an individual will need to place one on each of their credit reports (every individual has three credit reports, one with each of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax & Experian).

TransUnion

Equifax

Experian

For consumers wanting to freeze their credit report by mail, you’ll need to send a letter that includes all of the relevant details. We’ve provided a sample letter, which you can access by clicking here. Make sure to include the attachments requested (these can be found at the bottom of the sample letter).

Cost Of Placing/Removing A Credit Freeze

Credit freezing is regulated by state laws and thus the fees for freezing a credit report vary from state to state. For states with no applicable law (Alabama & Michigan are the only ones remaining) the credit bureaus charge a fee of $10 to freeze the report and $10 to unfreeze it.

By State:

Security Freeze Fee Information Table
State Requirements Fee Information
Add Lift Remove
AA, AP
and AE
addresses
(
Armed Forces)*
Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Alabama Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** $10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Alaska Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $2.00 Free**
Arizona Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Arkansas Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 Free** Free**
California Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Colorado Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free**
(initial request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed)
$10.00 Free**
Connecticut Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Delaware Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older $5.00 Free Free**
Protected Consumer $5.00 N/A Free**
Non-victim $10.00 Free** Free**
District of Columbia Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 Free** Free**
Florida Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free**
(initial request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed)
$10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Georgia Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $3.00 $3.00 Free**
Guam* Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Hawaii Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Idaho Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $6.00 $6.00 Free**
Illinois Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** $10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Indiana Identity Theft Victim Free Free Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
Iowa Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $12.00 Free**
Kansas Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Kentucky (expires after seven years) Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Louisiana Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 62 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $8.00 Free**
Maine Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Maryland Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Protected Consumer $5.00 N/A Free**
Massa-
chusetts
Identity Theft Victim and Victim’s Spouse Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Michigan* Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Minnesota Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Mississippi Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Missouri Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Montana Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $3.00 $3.00 Free**
Nebraska Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Minors (child under the age of 19) Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $3.00 $3.00 Free**
Nevada Identity Theft Victim or
Age 65 years or older
Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
New Hampshire Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
New Jersey Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free** $5.00 Free**
New Mexico Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
New York Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Victims of domestic abuse Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free** (Initial Request) $5.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed) $5.00 Free**
North Carolina Identity Theft Victim and Victim’s Spouse Free** Free** Free**
Age 62 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
North Dakota Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Ohio Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Oklahoma Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free**
(initial Request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after initial freeze was removed)
$10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Oregon Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Protected Consumer $10.00 N/A Free**
Pennsylvania (expires after seven years) Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** $10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Puerto Rico* Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Rhode Island Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
South Carolina Identity Theft Victim Free Free Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
South Dakota (expires after seven years) Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Tennessee Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $7.50 Free** Free**
Texas Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Utah Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Vermont Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $5.00 Free**
Virgin
Islands*
Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Virginia Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 Free** Free**
Washington Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
West
Virginia
Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Wisconsin Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Wyoming Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Fees are subject to change without notice.
*These states have not passed a Security Freeze law and will be processed in accordance to the default fees.
**In order to be eligible for free Security Freeze services, you may be required to provide proof of eligibility by mail.

F.A.Q’s About Credit Freezes

What’s The Difference Between A Credit Freeze & Fraud Alert?

  • A credit freeze stops all access to an individuals credit report. A fraud alert allows creditors to view an individuals credit report once they have established their identity.
  • Credit freezes are governed by state laws and prices vary state to state. Fraud alerts are governed by federal laws and are free to replace and remove for victims of identity theft.

Does Putting A Credit Freeze On My Credit Report Hurt My Credit Score?

No, placing a credit freeze (or fraud alert) will not harm your credit score. If you’re the victim of identity theft it’s important to check your credit report for anything suspicious. If something is found, report it to the authorities and the creditor who granted the credit. Once you’ve received a police report, you can dispute the item with the credit bureaus to have it removed (this police report is used as supporting evidence).

Learn how to dispute items shown on your credit report

[RELATEDWhich Credit Card Issuers Will Approve an Application with a Frozen Credit Report?]


26 Responses to Credit Freeze / Security Freeze

  1. Skywardbd says:

    Great Infomation!!!!!! Thank you!

  2. yuneeq says:

    Great list!
    You can also add info regarding IDA/ARS.
    Hack My Trip has a great article with great info you can find here- http://hackmytrip.com/2013/06/freeze-ida-ars-us-bank-club-carlson/

  3. Pingback: Which Credit Card Issuers Will Approve an Application with a Frozen Credit Report? - Diabolika

  4. Tom says:

    What’s the difference between “lift” and “remove”?
    Why is a remove free everywhere, but then it says at the bottom “**In order to be eligible for free Security Freeze services, you may be required to provide proof of eligibility by mail.”.
    How does one become eligible and what happens when one is not eligible?

  5. David says:

    Do you know how long will it take for ex to be frozen after the online request been submitted? Thanks!

  6. Jason says:

    Just called Experian at their CA office @ 714-830-7000 to freeze my report because I was not able to do it on line. I am in NY so free to freeze and was advised by the rep it’s $5 to unfreeze. It will be done in 20 mins. By the way, I was able to use a 4 digit pin over the phone while the online process requires at least 5 digit pin.

  7. Sam says:

    Hi DoC,

    Just wanted to make a comment that number of credit card offers (pre-approvals) that I get have drastically reduced, after placing a credit freeze on all three bureau’s. FYI for all churners out there 🙂

  8. Sparky says:

    To get a freeze if you’re a victim of identity theft for Transunion:

    Send fax-610-546-4771 with this information:

    Name
    mailing address
    last 4 ssn
    file id- ( I got this by calling Transunion)
    reason
    driver license or other id
    police report
    number of pages faxed:
    ATTN: Consumer contact department

    could take up to 5 business days

  9. Alex says:

    How do they define ‘Victim of Identity Theft’?

    If I my information was included in the recent Experian hack, but, it has not been used for anything — would I qualify?

    • Charles says:

      You have to file a police report. While theoretically you could file a police report because Equifax was hacked, I couldn’t imagine the police department being to kind about this, if they went along with it at all.

  10. Pingback: Is the Equifax cure worse than the hack? Here's what I plan to do... - Frequent Miler

  11. @DoC, the table rows referring to Utah are messed up.

  12. TMS says:

    Any data points getting Equifax to waive the fees for setting up a credit freeze given the recent news of the mega-hack?
    The free monitoring they are offering is only good for a year, and its monitoring (not as good protection as a freeze, I suppose).

  13. needToKnow says:

    A skilled identity thief can apply for and receive a replacement credit freeze PIN or password. The thief can then remove the credit freeze. The thief is able to do this because they can “prove” who they are. This is why they are called “identity” thieves. The Equifax breach makes this effort almost trivial..

  14. Kate Knox says:

    So, basically unless the gov’t decides to let people get new SS#s for the first time ever, what’s the point in that extra protection when the thief has all the info he/she needs to undo it? All we can do is dispute what isn’t opened by us?

  15. Charles says:

    I believe Kentucky and many other states are $10 to unfreeze. Not Free. I believe what Equifax calls a “Permanent Removal” is what you are referring to when you say “Unfreeze”?

    Either copy/paste Error or another source told you something different?

    https://help.equifax.com/s/article/ka137000000DSDyAAO/What-are-the-security-freeze-fees-in-my-state

  16. Debt Hater says:

    Does this mean if I want to temporarily lift the credit freeze for an application after 30 days I’ll have to pay? Seems like a way for them to actually make more money in the long run…

  17. Leticia says:

    I have been able to freeze my credit with Transunion and Experian over the phone but Equifax will NOT let me do it!! WHY/ I don’t trust them to handle any letter I send with my SSN.
    Also I signed up for the Trusted ID one year “protection” they are offering but now I’ve been reading that the sign-up website may not be safe! Does it help to decline this “protection” once they send the confirmation email, or do they even provide that option? Thanks!

  18. P says:

    I just put a freeze on my experian to apply for capital one cc. Is the freeze instantaneous, so if I apply now, experian will not be accessed?

  19. Jocelyn Walker says:

    You gave the wrong mailing address for Experian and Equifax. You swapped addresses. Experian is at Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
    Equifax is at P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta GA 30348. (NOT 30340)
    I now have doubts about the rest of your information. Post Office pointed out no Box 105788 at 30340
    so I had to send paperwork to another completely different P O Box for Equifax – just hope it reaches the correct department

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