Many of these victims find that crooks have used stolen personal information like Social Security numbers to open new accounts in their victim’s name. A security freeze gives consumers the choice to "freeze" or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name.
When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file. When the consumer is applying for credit, he or she can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed. For more information, see: Frequently Asked Questions about the security freeze. To help you decide if getting a security freeze is right for you, click here.
If you are you experiencing problems with your security freeze, click here.
Starting November 1, 2007, the security freeze has been be offered voluntarily by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to consumers living in the states that have not yet adopted security freeze laws (Alabama, and Michigan). The freeze also will be available to all consumers in the four states with laws that limit this protection to identity theft victims only (Kansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota). In order to effectively freeze access to your credit files, you must request the security freeze at each three major credit bureaus.
PLEASE NOTE: Consumers Union has provided the following templates as general guidelines on how to place the security freeze in your state. However, we strongly recommend that you also check with the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) to ensure you are submitting the proper documents when placing and using the security freeze.
For more information on security freezes, see the Consumers Union/U.S. PIRG Model State Clean Credit and Identity Theft Protection Act.
Updated August 10, 2011
Financial Services Campaign Team
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