Freeze Basics

What should I do to protect my identity?

If you would like to take action to protect your identity, consider placing a freeze, lock or fraud alert on your credit report. More information on freeze, lock and fraud alert are below.

In addition, consider the following steps to protect yourself:

  1. Check your credit reports regularly for signs of fraud such as new accounts, new or different personal information, or inquiries from lenders you don’t recognize. You have the right to a free credit report from all three credit bureaus every year. Visit Annualcreditreport.com for your free report.
  2. Set up transaction alerts. If your bank or financial institution allows you to set up transaction alerts on your existing accounts, do so.
  3. Monitor your accounts. Be vigilant and continue to check your credit regularly for suspicious activity. Consider a credit monitoring product such as TransUnion Credit Monitoring to receive alerts immediately when new accounts are attempted to be opened in your name.

What is a credit freeze?*

A credit freeze prevents lenders from checking your credit in order to open a new account. If you set up a freeze, your credit report cannot be used by a lender to open a new account in your name. A freeze may also prevent your information from being released for other inquiries (such as insurance, opening a bank account, renting an apartment). What can be released by TransUnion is guided by state law. Because it takes time to lift, a credit freeze limits your flexibility to take advantage of good credit card offers at retailers or car dealers on the spot. If you have a freeze, you must plan ahead to apply for credit.

When you place a freeze you will be provided with a PIN that you must use to lift the freeze to give other parties access to your information in the future.

*Fees may apply

What is a credit lock?

TransUnion offers credit lock as an alternative to a credit freeze. Similar to a credit freeze, a credit lock prevents your credit report from being used to open new accounts in your name. If you plan to be active in the credit market (e.g. applying for credit, loans, a new job, a new apartment), you may find a credit lock more accessible and convenient.

A credit lock is free through TransUnion’s TrueIdentity product. With TrueIdentity, you have real-time control to instantly lock and unlock your credit report online or on your mobile device with the TrueIdentity App. You can lock and unlock your report online with a single swipe, as often as you want with no fees. This means that if you want to apply for credit in any way – such as financing a new phone or shopping for a new car, you have the ease of unlocking your credit in real-time during the credit application process.

If I lock with TransUnion do I need to lock with the other bureaus?

Yes. You can lock your TransUnion credit report with us, but that does not lock your report with the other credit bureaus.

If you are interested in locking your credit report with other bureaus, consider our product Credit Lock Plus. It allows you to lock your credit reports at both TransUnion and Equifax for a fee.

What is a fraud alert?

A fraud alert requires creditors to take extra steps to verify that you are the person applying for new credit or changing limits on existing accounts by contacting you at a phone number you have provided. It does not block your report from being accessed. Once you have initiated a fraud alert with any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, the alert is automatically shared with the other two. Once you have placed a fraud alert you can choose to remove it at any time online or on the phone.

Why would I need a freeze, lock or fraud alert?

If you are a victim of identity theft, or simply want to protect your information then these options can help you minimize risk to yourself. It is also crucial to keep in mind that while credit freezes and locks provide powerful protection, they don’t protect against all types of fraud. For example, a fraudster can still open an account or sign up for services under your name with a business that does not attempt to pull your credit file. That’s why it’s so important to regularly use other credit monitoring tools, such as checking your free credit report, or subscribing to TransUnion Credit Monitoring.

Will a freeze, lock or fraud alert affect my credit score?

No, a fraud alert, credit lock or freeze does not affect your credit score. Your credit score is calculated independently using a number of other factors.

Adding a freeze

How do I place a freeze on my credit report?

  • Online: freeze.transunion.com - You will need to login and create an account.
  • Automated phone line: (888) 909-8872. - Follow the prompts to add your freeze.
  • Speak to an agent: (888) 909-8872 - Follow the prompts to be connected to an agent who can assist with your freeze.

Is there a fee for a freeze?

Depending on your state’s law, there may also be fees associated with placing or lifting a freeze. To see the fee in your state, click here.

*If you are a victim of identity theft and submit a valid investigative or incident report or complaint with a law enforcement agency, or the department of motor vehicles, the fee will be waived.* More info can be found on the FTC website.

Can I place a freeze for my family members?

Yes. Spouses can request freezes for each other by phone at (888) 909-8872, as long as they pass authentication. You can also request a freeze for someone if you have a valid Power of Attorney. To learn more about freezes for minors, Protected Consumer Freezes, please click here.

Can I freeze a credit report for a deceased family member?

You cannot freeze the credit report of a deceased family member, however, you may update your family member’s credit report to show as deceased. We recommend taking the following these steps to update a deceased person's credit report.

  1. Step One:
    Contact all creditors that the deceased person(s) did business with and request that they mark their files accordingly. Be sure to forward a copy of the death certificate, once you receive it.
  2. Step Two:
    Check with the Social Security Administration to ensure that they have updated their files and notified the credit reporting companies. Refer to the internet to find the address and phone number of the nearest Social Security office.

  3. Step Three:
    Forward a copy of the death certificate to one of the three credit reporting companies; the receiving bureau will notify the other two companies. This will allow the credit reporting agencies to add a notation to the credit file that the consumer is deceased. Along with the death certificate, please include the person’s legal name, Social Security number, date of birth and date of death. The letter should also include the name and mailing address for the spouse or executor for the deceased. You can mail your information to TransUnion at:

    TransUnion
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, PA 19016

Can a company I already have a relationship with view my credit report if I have a freeze placed?

Yes. Any company you already have an account with will still be able to access your credit report in connection with that account, but they will not be able to use your credit report to open a new account in your name.

If I place a freeze, will my personal information on my credit report continue to be updated?

No. Please note when you freeze your report name, address, SSN, and date of birth information will not be updated on your credit report. If there are any changes to your name or address while your file is frozen, you should notify TransUnion directly so that we can update your personal information.

If I freeze with TransUnion do I need to freeze with the other bureaus?

Yes. You can freeze your TransUnion credit report with us, but to freeze your other credit reports you must contact each of the other bureaus, specifically Equifax and Experian.

Equifax:
P.O. Box 740256,
Atlanta, GA, 30374
1- 800-685-1111

Experian Security Freeze:
P.O. Box 9554,
Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742

Are there situations in which my credit report is provided to another party even though it has a credit freeze?

Yes. These reasons may vary based on your state of residence, but according to some state laws, there are situations and organizations that are exempt from the credit freeze. These include:

  • for purposes of underwriting insurance
  • for purposes of reviewing (account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases and account upgrades and enhancements) or collecting an existing account
  • credit monitoring subscription service to which you have subscribed
  • providing you with a copy of your credit report upon your request
  • for the purposes of prescreening as provided for by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act

Removing a freeze

When you place a credit freeze on your report, you create or are mailed a personal identification number (PIN) to use when you choose to remove or temporarily lift the credit freeze from your report in the future. You should plan ahead and lift a freeze, either completely if you are shopping around, or specifically for a certain creditor, a few days before actually applying for new credit. Depending on state law where you live, and depending on whether you have a law enforcement identity theft report, placing or temporarily lifting a freeze may require a fee, click here to see the fees in your state.

What is a temporary lift?

With a temporary lift, you give TransUnion permission to release your credit file to third parties, such as credit lenders or other companies, for a defined period of time. You must specify the amount of time in days that you want this temporary lift in effect. For all temporary lifts, the minimum time period is one day and the maximum time period is 30 days. After the chosen time period, the freeze will be back in place.

What is a selective temporary lift?

A selective third-party lift will allow only third parties with a legitimate business purpose and a unique access code to receive your credit report. This access code will be provided to you and you are responsible for providing it to the lender. They must use this access code in order to receive access to your file.

How do I temporarily lift a freeze?

To lift your freeze, login to your account and select “Lift or Remove Your Freeze”. You have the choice to temporarily lift your freeze or remove it.

Alternatively, you can call TransUnion to request a temporary lift at 888-909-8872 and our interactive voice response system will guide you through the process. In this case, please have your social security number, address, date of birth, security freeze PIN, lift type, start and end dates, and the payment to pay the applicable fee, if any, ready before your call. Under certain circumstances, as defined by state law, you may be eligible for reduced-fee or free security freeze services.

How do I permanently remove my freeze?

To permanently remove a security freeze, you must call or mail a written request.

To remove your freeze by telephone, please call 888-909-8872, and our interactive voice response system will guide you through the process. In this case, please have your social security number, date of birth, and freeze PIN ready before your call. The freeze will be permanently removed from your file within three business days from the receipt of your request

By Mail: Submit a written request or a completed copy of the freeze form provided in the security freeze information letter you received to: TransUnion, Attn: Security Freeze, PO Box 2000, Chester PA 19016.

Please include your TransUnion file identification number (FIN), if available, and security freeze PIN. TransUnion will remove the security freeze within three business days from receipt of your request and will notify you of the removal.

What if I need to apply for credit?

If you need to apply for credit, you need to temporarily lift, grant a creditor one time access or permanently remove your freeze. The choice is yours.

Is a freeze permanent?

A freeze will remain on your credit report until you request its removal. For some states, security freeze remain in effect for seven years from the date the file is frozen. For additional information, see www.transunion.com/securityfreeze

Request a New PIN

For your protection, we do not issue new PINs online. If you lose the PIN that was issued to you when you added the freeze to your credit report, you can request another one by calling 888-909-8872. You will be asked a series of questions to confirm your identity and, if your responses match, we will send a letter with a replacement PIN to the address on your credit report.

You may also request a new PIN in writing. In this case, please provide proof of identification, such as a copy of your driver’s license, Passport, or birth certificate.

Mail to:
TransUnion
Attn: Security Freeze
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016