How to Freeze Your Credit

  • By David Lukic
  • Sep 17, 2020

With data breaches, ransomware, and identity theft on the rise, consumers must put in an extra effort to keep their credit safe these days. One of the ways some people lock down their information is through a credit freeze. It can be a good thing in some cases but not necessarily in all.

What is a Credit Freeze?

Credit Freeze

A credit freeze is a tool that allows you to "lock" your credit report so that no one can open up new lines of credit, get a loan or sign up for services using your identity. When you put a credit freeze on your account, new creditors cannot view or access your credit report from the three big credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax). Existing creditors can still see your credit report, however. 

Typically, when you apply for a credit card, mortgage, or loan, the banks contact one of these agencies to view your credit report to gauge your creditworthiness. When you apply a credit freeze, they cannot do this. So, you can’t get new lines of credit either unless you remove the credit freeze. You can do so at any time.

How to Do a Credit Freeze

How to do a credit freeze

Doing a credit freeze is pretty straightforward. However, you need to contact each credit bureau separately and inform them. They used to charge a fee, but now the law requires that they provide this service to you for free. 

You can contact the credit reporting agencies below:

  • Equifax: 1-800-349-9660 or 
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or 
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or 

When you call, be sure you have the following information readily available as they will need it.

  • Full legal name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Full address.
  • Social security number.
  • Other personally identifiable information.

The credit freeze will stay on your account until you remove it. Each credit bureau will provide you with a PIN that you can provide to potential new lenders so they can access your credit without you having to remove the freeze. 

If you will be renting an apartment, buying a home, or requiring a few people to review your credit, you can “lift” the credit freeze which temporarily suspends it. Then you can put it back after. If you choose to “remove” it, it will be gone entirely from your account. 

When it’s a Good Idea to Invoke a Credit Freeze

How to freeze your credit

If you are the victim of a data breach and identity theft, then a credit freeze makes sense. For some people, however, it is overkill. 

If you are worried about thieves opening new credit accounts in your name, then you should consider a credit freeze.

A credit freeze is free and doesn’t negatively affect your credit score. Therefore, there is no adverse effect from putting a credit freeze on your account except that it may force you to fill out paperwork a few times and may slow things down when you need to use your credit. It may also be a pain to keep track of PINs and lift and restore your credit freeze if you need it.

Remember, though, a credit freeze does not prevent hackers from accessing your existing accounts, and if your information was stolen in a data breach, that is a real possibility. 

Credit Fraud Alert: How to Put It

Credit Fraud Alert

A gentler, less intrusive option is to contact one of the major credit bureaus and ask to add a fraud alert to your account. A fraud alert indicates that you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, and therefore anyone who considers lending you money (or someone pretending to be you), has to take extra steps to verify that it’s really you before providing the credit. It’s easier to add a fraud alert (you only have to tell one agency, and they have to tell the other two). You can do it by phone or mail easily, and it lasts for a year. In special circumstances, you can add a seven-year fraud alert if you have filed a complaint with the FTC and the police due to identity theft. Neither a credit freeze or fraud alert negatively affects your credit, and both can give you peace of mind. 

Another excellent option is to sign up for credit monitoring so that you are sent alerts whenever anything changes with your credit report. offers this service and more. 

In the end, it is up to you. A fraud alert provides an extra layer of security and ensures that no one opens up new credit without proper identity verification. A credit freeze is a more severe step and may cause you more work and hassle in the long run.

About the Author
IDStrong Logo

Related Articles

Credit Freeze vs. Lock: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between a credit freeze and credit lock is that while freezing your credit you ... Read More

How to Build Credit From Scratch in 3 Fast Ways

If you have never had a credit card, loan, or mortgage, you may not have any credit. Or you may ha ... Read More

Top 9 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Unfortunately, in life, it is critical to have a good credit score to qualify for a mortgage, ap ... Read More

How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report

No one wants to go bankrupt, but when you get in over your head and can’t see a way out, sometim ... Read More

What is Credit Fraud Monitoring?

Good credit is an important thing in life. You can’t apply for credit cards, loans, or a mortgag ... Read More

Latest Articles

Regal Medical Group Data Breach Affects Patients of At Least Four Healthcare Providers

Regal Medical Group Data Breach Affects Patients of At Least Four Healthcare Providers

It's been less than a week since February 2023 started, yet we are, reading about a new medical breach. Over 90% of hospitals have admitted to being victims of data breaches.

Weekly Cybersecurity Recap February 3

Weekly Cybersecurity Recap February 3

Well, the last month has passed incredibly quickly and without much stir, which gives us hope for the next year. However, this month has been incredibly eventful in the world of cybersecurity.

Bell-Carter Foods Announced A Data Breach

Bell-Carter Foods Announced A Data Breach

Any large-scale company is at heightened risk of becoming the victim of a data breach. It doesn't always seem like the most obvious target; whether it's a power company, a grocer, or a chain restaurant, there is actually a lot of desirable information available from these companies' databases.

Featured Articles

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

Buying your own home is the American Dream, but it might seem out of reach to those with bad credit. However, the good news is, if your credit is less than perfect, you do still have options and in most cases, can still buy a home.

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

Any good IT article on computers and network security will address the importance of strong, secure passwords. However, the challenge of good passwords is that most people have a hard time remembering them, so they use simple or obvious ones that pose a security risk.

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Senior scams are becoming a major epidemic for two reasons. First, seniors often have a lot of money in the bank from a life of working hard and saving.

Free Identity Threat Scan
Instantly Check if Your Personal Information is Exposed
All fields below are required
Please enter first name
Please enter last name
Please enter a city
Please select a state
Please enter an email address