The three major credit reports agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian-maintain detailed personal consumer information in your credit reports. When you apply for credit, the lender will pull at least one of those reports to decide whether to grant the loan and at what price.
A credit security freeze restricts the reporting agencies from releasing your credit reports without your authorization. This prevents identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. It does not affect your credit score.
On September 21 a new federal law superseded state laws that governed how much credit reporting agencies could charge you for a credit freeze. Agencies typically also charged a fee to unfreeze credit. This new consumer law makes both of those charges illegal.
Frequently Asked Questions about the new law can be found at the Federal Trade Commission web page https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
To place a complete security freeze you must contact each credit reporting company and place a security freeze with each one.
- TransUnion: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
- Equifax: https://transunion.com/credit-help
- Experian: Experian.com/help
According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you contact a credit bureau by telephone and request to temporarily lift or totally remove the freeze, they must do that within one hour.