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A credit freeze is an important step you can take to help prevent access to your credit report to open credit accounts. Freezes are federally regulated. Victim of a data breach or you suspect that your identity has been stolen, you should freeze your credit.
Freezing your credit report will prevent access to it by certain third parties. Freezing will not prevent access to your credit report at any other credit bureau. Other entities that may still have access to your credit report include:
When you are ready to freeze your credit, you will contact each of the four national credit bureaus by the online website or by phone. You will need to verify your identity and will be required to set a PIN. You may be required to create an account. Be sure to save your account, PIN, and any other details in a safe place. You will need this information in order to unfreeze. Consider using a password manager to keep track.
Lifting / unfreezing your credit is just as easy as going back to the credit bureau’s website and removing the freeze. This is where you will need to provide your PIN and/or other identifying information. When removing the freeze, you may have to option to permanently remove, temporarily remove. I recommend only doing a temporary unfreezing. This will allow you to apply for credit when wanting to take out a loan.
The three major credit bureaus have slightly different requirements when it comes to your child’s credit. Below are what will be asked.
You will need to fill out and print these forms. Then mail the form and required documents to the mailing address of the credit bureau.
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
|Equifax||Equifax Information Services LLC|
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
|TransUnion (No form)|
Must include a written request to place a “protected consumer freeze” on the named individual’s file.
P.O. Box 380
Woodlyn, PA 19094
|Innovis||Innovis Consumer Assistance|
PO Box 26
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0026
|Credit Freeze||Credit Lock|
|When to use||Want to make sure no one can access your credit report||Want to make sure no one can access your credit report|
|How fast is it||Often is real-time, but allow up to an hour||Instantly through the web or mobile app|
|Status Alerts||No alerts, but you can log in to check the status||Yes|
|Cost||Free||Varies. Usually is a paid subscription|
Be proactive in preventing thieves from getting credit under your name. Keep your credit report locked at all four credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, Innovis). Temporarily unfreeze when applying for credit.