Free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st, thanks to a new federal law. Here’s what you should know:
Free credit freezes
Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Starting September 21, 2018, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit file for free. You also can get a free freeze for your children who are under 16. And if you are someone’s guardian, conservator or have a valid power of attorney, you can get a free freeze for that person, too.
How will these freezes work? Contact all three of the nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you request a freeze online or by phone, the agency must place the freeze within one business day. If you request a lift of the freeze, the agency must lift it within one hour. If you make your request by mail, the agency must place or lift the freeze within three business days after it gets your request. You also can lift the freeze temporarily without a fee.
Don’t confuse freezes with locks. They work in a similar way, but locks may have monthly fees. If you want a free freeze guaranteed by federal law, then opt for a freeze, not a lock.
Year-long fraud alerts
A fraud alert tells businesses that check your credit that they should check with you before opening a new account. Starting September 21, 2018, when you place a fraud alert, it will last one year, instead of 90 days. Fraud alerts will still be free and identity theft victims can still get an extended fraud alert for seven years.
Credit freezes and the military
If you’re in the military, you’ll still have access to active duty alerts, which let you place a fraud alert for one year, renewable for the time you’re deployed. The active duty alert also gives you an added benefit: the credit reporting agencies will take your name off their marketing lists for prescreened credit card offers for two years (unless you ask them to add you back on).
You can place a fraud alert or active duty alert by visiting any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. The one that you contact must notify the other two. You also can find links to their websites at IdentityTheft.gov.
Issues with a credit freeze
If you think a credit reporting agency is not placing a credit freeze or fraud alert properly, you can submit a complaint online or by calling 855-411-2372. If you think someone stole your identity, visit the FTC’s website, IdentityTheft.gov, to get a personalized recovery plan that walks you through the steps to take.
For more information, check out Place a Fraud Alert, Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes, and Credit Freeze FAQs. And if you’re considering a child credit freeze, you also may want to read Child Identity Theft.
Credit Bureau Contacts
Contact the national credit bureaus to request fraud alerts, credit freezes (also known as security freezes), and opt outs from pre‑screened credit offers.
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In reply to Great news - but for us that by applehazar
The new law does not provide for giving refunds to people who already placed a freeze. But from now on, every time you lift or place a freeze, it will be free with all three credit bureaus.
In reply to The new law does not provide by FTC Staff
In reply to Does my credit score still by Davrinker
Your credit score can still increase or decrease after you place a credit freeze.
A freeze on your credit file does not freeze your credit score. The freeze on your credit file limits the ability of a business to get access to your credit file. Your credit file includes information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you have been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. After you place a freeze on your credit file, you keep on paying bills, and doing things that change the information in your credit file and could affect your credit score.
In reply to WHY do you Only provide by lcalp227
You can send someone a link to this blog in an email. Copy the URL at the top of this page and send it in an email. The URL for this blog is
In reply to WHY do you Only provide by lcalp227
In reply to What is the difference by Ash
Both a credit freeze and a credit lock limit access to your credit file so no one, including you, can open new accounts until you unlock your credit file. To be fully protected by a credit freeze or a credit lock, you must place a freeze or lock with all three nationwide credit reporting agencies.
However, with a lock, you do not get a PIN. Usually you do not need to wait to lock or unlock your credit file, although the current Equifax lock can take 24 to 48 hours. You can lock and unlock your credit file from a computer or mobile device through an app, but not with a phone call.
A lock lasts only as long as you have an ongoing lock agreement with a credit reporting agency. In some cases, you need to pay a monthly fee to maintain your lock service. Credit reporting agencies can set and change lock fees at any time.
If you sign up for a lock, it’s hard to be sure what your legal protections will be if something goes wrong later. Credit freezes are now governed by federal law.
In reply to Both a credit freeze and a by FTC Staff
In reply to I have credit freezes for by neumand
In reply to These companies have made it by Chas
In reply to There are the phone numbers by mikehill
In reply to Is there a limit on how many by Odie
No, there is not a limit on how many times you may place a freeze your credit files.
In reply to How will Credit Freezing and by Miin
The law applies only to nationwide credit reporting agencies. Please contact a business directly to ask if it offers a freeze.
In reply to i would like to get signed up by kimajohnson36
Use the Credit Bureau Contacts in this blog post to make your request.
In reply to I am an old man, don't by Scott E
Look for the words "Credit Freeze FAQ" in this blog, and click on them. That will open a page of information about credit freezes.
You can choose to put a freeze on your credit file - which some people call their credit report. If you freeze your credit file, that makes it harder for a business to get the information it needs to give credit, so it makes it harder for an identity thief to get credit in your name.
In reply to When lifting a freeze by wplus10
When you lift a freeze, you have two options. These two options are available to everyone in the country.
(1) You can lift a freeze permanently. If you do, it stays lifted until you place it again.
(2) You can lift a freeze temporarily. If you do, you must tell the credit reporting agency the length of time you want the freeze to be lifted; for example "five days." The credit reporting agency will put the freeze back on at the end of the time you chose.
Remember to contact each of the three national credit reporting agencies separately to lift and re-place a freeze on your credit files.
In reply to When you lift a freeze, you by FTC Staff
In reply to I placed a freeze on the by Gaelgha
A freeze remains in place until you ask a credit reporting agency to lift it temporarily or permanently.
In reply to Do I have to unfreeze (lift) by Denny
No, you don't have to lift a credit freeze before you use a credit card you already have.
In reply to No, you don't have to lift a by FTC Staff
In reply to So the freeze is only for by Dragontitus
If someone reports false information, report that to the credit bureau and ask them to remove it.
When a credit freeze is in place, a creditor can still report delinquent debts. It’s possible that someone could report false information when a freeze is in place.
In reply to I tried, in vain, to reach by 1MoreThing
Starting on September 21, 2018, a credit freeze is free. You don't need to pay for a credit freeze. Use the information in this blog to contact each credit reporting agency to request a free credit freeze.
In reply to If I freeze my credit, is it by worldseriescha…
Yes, you can still view your credit report when a freeze is in place. Go to anualcreditreport.com to get your free credit report.
It’s wise to check your report at least once a year for any signs of identity theft. Your credit report includes information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment or renting a home.
In reply to Are all family members by Chibi2
A person has an individual credit file. A person usually has three individual credit files, because there are three nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
If a person wants a complete credit freeze, he or she must contact the three credit reporting agencies and ask each agency to place a freeze.
In reply to I have had credit freezes at by Midwater
In reply to I had the same problem with by Robert
In reply to Same here. Experian won't by Dan
The FTC has several articles that explain what goes into your credit reports and credit score and how to dispute errors on the Credit and Loans page.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) also has information about credit reports and credit scores. If you have an issue with credit reporting or scores, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB. Their staff will work to get you a response from the company.