What is a credit freeze? Also known as a security freeze, a credit freeze is a tool that lets you restrict access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account, if they can’t review your report, they may not extend the credit. A credit freeze gives you more control over the release of your financial information.
Does a credit freeze affect my credit score? No. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score. A credit freeze also does not prevent the following:
- Prevent you from getting a free annual credit report
- Keep you from opening a new account. To open a new account, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily. You can lift the freeze or thaw credit anytime you need to access your credit.
- Prevent a criminal from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card, and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions. We recommend that you monitor your accounts daily.
Is there a cost to freeze/unfreeze my credit? No.
How do I place a freeze on my credit reports? You need to contact each of the nationwide credit bureaus. You will need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and other personal information. After receiving the freeze request, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
How do I lift a freeze? A freeze remains in place until you ask the credit bureau to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. Contact the credit bureau to temporarily lift or remove the freeze.
If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit bureau the business will contact for your file, you can save some time by lifting the freeze only at that particular credit bureau. Otherwise, you need to make the request with all three credit bureaus.
Should you have questions about freezing credit, visit a credit bureau website or the Federal Trade Commission – www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/identity-theft. The Federal Trade Commission is a valuable resource to learn more about protecting your personal and financial information from identity thieves and cyber criminals.
For additional information, contact one of our Customer Service Representative at (916) 567-2899 or (800) 564-7144 or via email at [email protected].