File Freezes

Anyone can freeze their credit report, even if their identity has not been stolen. A file freeze restricts access to your credit report, which means you — or others — won’t be able to open a new credit account while the freeze is in place. While your credit is frozen, a limited number of entities can see your credit file. These include:

  • Creditors of accounts you currently hold;
  • Certain government entities; and
  • Companies you've hired to monitor your credit file.

A file freeze lasts until you remove it. While the freeze is in place, you will still be able to do things like apply for a job, rent an apartment, or buy insurance. You can temporarily lift a credit freeze if you need to apply for new credit.

Under both state and federal law, you have the right to place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove a security freezes for free. If you make your file freeze request by phone or online, the consumer reporting agency must freeze your credit report within one business day. If you make your request by mail, they must freeze your credit report within three business days.

To place a file freeze, you must contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. For more information, visit the nationwide credit reporting companies' websites or call the numbers below:

A nationwide credit reporting company must send you a written confirmation of the file freeze no later than five business days after the freeze is placed. They must also tell you of how to remove the freeze.

Upon your request, a file freeze can be removed free of charge. The freeze will be removed no later than one hour after the consumer reporting agency receives the request by toll-free telephone or secure electronic means, or three business days after receiving the request by mail. You can also lift a freeze temporarily for a period of time specified by you, free of charge. The same time periods above apply to a temporary removal of your file freeze.