Learn what your options are for protecting yourself. Find out the difference between a freeze and fraud alert and choose the one that’s best for you.
We make it easy to add a freeze to your credit report. Learn how to add one and what happens to your credit report after you do.
You won’t need a PIN to make changes to your freeze in the mobile app or online. You’ll only need a PIN to make changes to your freeze via phone. If that applies to you, and your PIN is lost or you simply want to change it, follow the instructions to obtain a new one.
If you plan to be shopping around and applying for credit, you will need to remove the freeze on your credit report. Learn about the different options and choose the one that fits your lifestyle.
If you want to freeze a credit report on someone’s behalf, learn the requirements.
If you are a parent or guardian of a minor, and you are concerned about the safety of their information, learn about the steps to take.
Is there a fee for a freeze? Or is credit freeze free?
TransUnion is pleased to offer freezes for free. Freeze removals are also free. So freeze or remove your freeze as often as you want.
What is identity theft? And, how can I protect myself from identity theft?
Identity theft is a serious crime where your personal information—anything from your name, your driver’s license, or Social Security Number—has been hijacked by an imposter in order to commit fraud in your name. You’re the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your identity. Check your credit reports and financial accounts regularly for any suspicious activity. You can get your credit report here for free, once a year, from all three bureaus. Set up transaction alerts if your bank offers them to notify you of all account activity. Finally, consider adding some extra armor like a fraud alert or credit freeze. For more information, check out our Identity Theft web page.
What is a credit report?
Your credit report is a record of your credit activity and credit history. It’s a journal of your financial past and is a part of your story. It includes the names of companies that have extended you credit and/or loans, as well as the credit limits and loan amounts. Your payment history is also part of this record. If you have delinquent accounts, bankruptcies, foreclosures or lawsuits, these can also be found in your credit report.
What is a data breach? How does a data breach affect me?
A data breach occurs when someone’s personal information is stolen or exposed without their permission. If you are a victim of a data breach consider the following steps:
Should I freeze my credit?
The choice is yours. If you are concerned about data breaches or just want to be proactive in protecting yourself, a credit freeze could be the right option.
What is a credit freeze?
A credit freeze prevents lenders from checking your credit in order to open a new account. Think of it as having a padlock on your credit report. Remember, if you have a freeze you must remove it to apply for credit. We make it easy for you though, so don’t worry.
What is a fraud alert?
A fraud alert (valid for one year) notifies lenders to call you to verify your identity before extending new credit. This extra step ensures that you are undoubtedly you, and not an imposter trying to open a new credit account to buy a new car in your name. Even better, you only need to add the alert with one bureau and they’ll notify the other two. The best part? It won’t cost you a dime.
Why would I need a credit freeze or fraud alert?
These powerful tools can help you steer clear of identity theft or prevent history from repeating itself if you’ve already fallen victim. They offer added protection, making it more difficult for anyone, including fraudsters, to apply for credit using your info.
Think of a freeze or fraud alert like a fortress for your personal data. They strengthen your defense but aren’t impenetrable, so it’s still important to regularly monitor your credit.
Does a credit freeze or fraud alert affect my credit score?
A freeze or fraud alert will not affect your credit score, so go ahead and apply for that loan (just be sure to remove the freeze before you do). Get your dream apartment with the marble countertops.
What is the difference between a fraud alert and credit freeze?
A fraud alert notifies lenders to call you to verify your identity before extending new credit, but it does not block access to your credit report. A credit freeze blocks access to your credit report if anyone tries to open a new account.
How long does it take for my freeze/freeze removal to go into effect when I place it online, in the app or by phone?
For the most part, freezes or freeze removals occur in real time. To be on the safe side, allow up to one hour, especially if you will be shopping for credit.
What is the difference between a credit freeze, TrueIdentity and TrueIdentity Premium?
A credit freeze prevents anyone from opening a new account in your name. It is a great way to control who can access your credit. TrueIdentity and TrueIdentity Premium are subscription products offered by TransUnion. They also prevent anyone from accessing your credit report, but they come with extra perks such as instant alerts and identity theft insurance. Read more here.
Can I still apply for credit if I have a freeze?
Not while your credit report is frozen. When you put a freeze on your file, you put a padlock on it (not literally) and new creditors won’t be able to access it. You will need to remove your freeze to apply for new credit.
Do credit freezes freeze my credit card so I can't buy things with it?
No. A credit freeze doesn’t affect your credit card. You credit report won’t be accessible, but that won’t affect your credit card. They are two different things.
How do I place a freeze on my credit report?
Online: Add Freeze
The quickest way to place your freeze is online or in the mobile app. Simply login or create an account and be amazed at how easy we made it for you.
Mobile App: Download myTransUnion, available now in the Apple or Google Play App Store.
It’s 2018, so yes, there is an app for that.
Wait… I’m pretty sure I paid for a freeze before, can I have a refund?
It’s true, there used to be a fee for a credit freeze under state law. They are free now which is great news, but no, we won’t be offering refunds. Silver lining, you won’t have to pay for a freeze ever again.
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 regarding the existing account, but they will not be able to use your credit report to open a new account in your name.
Can you put a freeze on existing credit cards?
It may sound like a credit freeze would impact your credit cards, but it has absolutely no effect on credit cards you already own. A freeze prevents your credit report from being accessed when you (and anyone else) tries to open new accounts, but you can still use the credit cards you have.
Note: If you’re looking to temporarily prevent charges on the plastic you currently carry, consult with your credit card issuer.
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. We included their contact info below to make it easy for you. You’re welcome.
Equifax: P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA, 30374
Experian Security Freeze: P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
Could someone access my credit report even though I placed a freeze on my account?
Someone, but not just anyone. Under federal law, a freeze won’t stop someone from checking your credit in the following situations.
What is permissible purpose?
Permissible purpose is a reason specified in the law that allows someone to check your credit report. A credit freeze stops a creditor from accessing your credit report to open a new account, even though they have permissible purpose. But if the permissible purpose is to review your credit report to make changes to an account you already have, a freeze won’t stop that.
How do I change my freeze PIN?
Requesting a new PIN is quick and easy online. Login and follow the prompts and have your new PIN in a flash.
Your PIN is a 6-digit number that will be associated with your credit freeze. Choose something that you'll remember but others might not easily guess. Your PIN needs to be something not previously used, and can’t be all zeroes.
What is the PIN used for?
PINs are there to add security and make sure it’s really you making changes to your credit report when using the phone system. Again, you will only need it to change your freeze via phone. You won’t need it to make changes to your freeze online or through the mobile app.
How do I temporarily lift a freeze?
To temporarily lift your freeze, login to your account (either online or download myTransUnion, available in the Apple or Google Play App Store) and select "Temporarily Lift Freeze”. Then enter the dates you want the lift to happen.
To make things easy, you can plan and schedule your freeze removal up to 15 days in advance of when you want it to happen. If you wish to unfreeze more than 15 days from today, please login closer to the date when you want your credit report unfrozen.
How do I remove a freeze?
To remove your freeze, login to your account (either online or download myTransUnion, available in the Apple or Google Play App Store) and select “Remove Credit Freeze”. When you are ready, you can come back and freeze again.
*By removing your TransUnion credit freeze, you are opening your credit report to be accessible to lenders.
What if I need to apply for credit while my freeze is active?
Not a problem. With a freeze, you’re in control of who gets the scoop on your finances. Remove or temporarily lift your freeze and start your application.
Is a freeze permanent?
You’re in control of how long a freeze stays on your credit report. Your report will be frozen until you request its removal.
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 by calling (888) 909-8872.
If you are a parent/guardian/representative you can freeze for a minor 15 and younger.
How do I freeze for my minor child?
If you are a parent or guardian of a minor and would like to freeze their credit report, we can help. Here's what you'll need to provide.
Can I freeze a credit report for a deceased family member?
We’re sorry you have to go through this tough time. While you can’t freeze the credit report of a deceased family member, you can update your family member’s credit report to show as deceased. This will notify any creditor who attempts to pull the report that the consumer is deceased. Follow the steps below and we will help you update your loved one’s credit report and give you peace of mind:
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 to them, once you receive it.
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.
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 report 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, plus a copy of their identification. If the request is from an executor for the deceased, or someone other than a spouse, we need a copy of identification for the requestor, plus a copy of the will/executor agreement or Power of Attorney documentation.
You can mail your information to TransUnion at:
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
How does a credit file get created for a minor?
Typically, minors do not have credit files. An application for credit, a credit account, or a public record starts the compilation of a consumer credit file. Adding the minor as an authorized user to someone’s existing line of credit can also create a file. Usually all that is needed is a Social Security number.
How do I know if my child's identity has been stolen?
Warning signs that might indicate your child’s identity has been stolen can include, but are not limited to:
How do I check if a credit file exists for my child?
TransUnion would be happy to check our records for a credit file under the child’s information. If you are interested, please complete the secure online form using the following link:
You may also send your request, along with a copy of the child’s birth certificate and Social Security card and your proof of identity, by mail to:
Attention: Child ID Theft
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Sending a request to TransUnion to check for a credit file will NOT create a credit file.
If TransUnion was unable to locate a credit file based on the information I provided, does this mean there is no credit file?
Typically, a minor has no established credit or credit history and therefore a credit file will not exist. TransUnion only maintains credit reports for individuals that have an existing credit history.
If TransUnion was unable to locate a file, does this mean there is nothing reported against my child’s Social Security number?
This means TransUnion has no existing credit history for your child. However, we recommend contacting the other Consumer Reporting Agencies as information can vary.
If TransUnion did not find a file under my child’s information, do I need to contact the other bureaus?
We would recommend that you do. Information varies between Consumer Reporting Agencies.
What if TransUnion does locate a file on my child?
If a file is located, we can add a protected consumer freeze on the minor’s credit report, or a credit suppression. More information for both are below. You should also consider visiting https://identitytheft.gov/ to report the fraud and review other recommended steps.
Someone stole my minor’s information and/or used my minor’s Social Security Number to file taxes and/or open accounts, what should I do?
TransUnion can assist you by checking our records for a credit file under the child’s name. Please complete the secure online form using the following link:
You should also consider filing an FTC Identity Theft Report at https://identitytheft.gov/, and contacting the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration offices.
Internal Revenue Service
Identity Protection Specialized Unit
Social Security Administration
A credit file was found for my child and it contains accounts or inquiries. How can I have this information removed from their file?
Please provide TransUnion with a copy of the child’s birth certificate and Social Security card, along with your dispute listing the inaccurate items. Once we receive the dispute, we will conduct an investigation. You may also want to contact the companies listed directly and inform them that the Social Security number associated with the accounts belongs to a minor.
In addition, you may want to file an FTC Identity Theft Report with https://identitytheft.gov/. You should provide each company that you contact with a copy of the report to inform them of identity theft.
I received a credit card application in the mail for my child; how did this happen?
Your child may be on a promotional mailing list. Companies purchase mailing lists from many sources. If you or your child have subscribed to any services in the child’s name (for example, magazines or airline frequent flyer accounts) that are not specifically designed for children, their name may have been shared as part of a mailing list.
Can I add a fraud alert on my minor’s Social Security Number?
TransUnion currently does not offer fraud alert protection for minors. However, we can offer to place a protected consumer freeze or credit suppression to your minors file.
Can I add a protected consumer freeze on my minor’s Social Security Number?
Yes, the protected consumer freeze is applicable to minors 15 or younger in all 50 US States and Puerto Rico. If you have additional questions about protected consumer freezes, please call (800) 680-7289 to speak to a representative.
What is credit suppression?
Credit suppression is a free service for minors 17 or younger. It offers the same amount of protection as a protected consumer freeze. TransUnion will suppress the file until the age of 18. Credit suppression blocks a creditor from obtaining the minors credit report. You do not have to request the removal of a credit suppression, the suppression will expire the month that the minor is set to turn 18.
How do I request credit suppression for my minor?
If you would like to request a credit suppression for your minor please provide TransUnion with a copy of the minor’s birth certificate and Social Security card to the address below. Provide proof of your identification (i.e. driver’s license, government issued identification card, etc.). If you are not a parent listed on the child’s birth certificate, also include your guardianship documents.
Please mail the request and required documents to:
Attention: Child ID Theft
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
If TransUnion does not locate a credit file for my child, can I still place a freeze or credit protection?
You can, however, TransUnion will need to create a credit file for your child in order to suppress it.
Is a protected consumer freeze or credit suppression a permanent option?
A protected consumer freeze will remain on the minors file until the minor (once 16 or older), or guardian submits a written request for its removal. A credit suppression will automatically be removed from the minors file once they reach the age of 18.
Where can I find more information on Child ID Theft?
The FTC has helpful information on their website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0040-child-identity-theft
What if I’m worried about the safety of my own information?
If you are concerned about your personal information and want to take steps to protect yourself, you can freeze or lock your credit report. More information can be found here:
You should also consider visiting https://identitytheft.gov/ to report the fraud and review other recommended steps.