A credit freeze means that new creditors cannot access your credit report because most businesses will not open credit accounts without checking your credit report. A credit freeze can deter identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
A credit freeze does not prevent the misuse or fraudulent takeover of existing accounts.
You can place a “credit freeze” on your credit file at any time, but you must contact each credit bureau. For more information, visit the nationwide credit bureaus’ websites or call the numbers below:
- Equifax: Place, Temporarily Lift or Permanently Remove a Security Freeze, 800-525-6285
- Experian: Security Freeze, 888-397-3742
- TransUnion: Manage a State Security Freeze Online, 800-680-7289
It’s a good annual practice to check your credit report for accuracy and report any errors with the credit bureau.
If you discover accounts you do not recognize, contact the credit bureaus directly to place a fraud alert. If you are a victim of identity theft, continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.