How Do I Freeze My Credit?

To freeze your credit, you'll need to contact each of the three credit bureaus separately. It's a relatively simple but important process.

Jessica Lee
Updated 16 June 2022
How Do I Freeze My Credit?
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United States Scam & Fraud Statistics 2020

$3.3 billion total fraud losses
4.7 million fraud reports

1.4 million reports of identity theft

Source: 2019-20 Consumer Sentinel Report

Sections on this page
  1. Equifax Credit Freeze
  2. Experian Credit Freeze
  3. TransUnion Credit Freeze
  4. Why Should I Freeze My Credit?
  5. How to Remove a Credit Freeze
  6. Is Freezing Your Credit Too Extreme?

A credit freeze is a no-hassle way to ensure that your credit is protected and that no one can fraudulently take out lines of credit in your name. In addition, when you freeze your credit, most creditors and lenders will be unable to access your credit reports.

There are a few exceptions, such as:

  • Yourself
  • Lenders with who you already have accounts
  • Landlords
  • Child support agencies
  • Government agencies
  • Potential employers running background checks

There are three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—each with similar but different ways to apply for a credit freeze. If you are using an identity theft protection system, you can contact them directly to freeze your credit if you have a plan with that feature. 
Unlike fraud alerts where you only need to contact one credit bureau, you need to contact each credit bureau separately to request a credit freeze. It is completely free to request, lift, and remove a freeze on your credit at any time. 

Equifax Credit Freeze

You can request a credit freeze with Equifax online, by phone, and by mail. 

Online Credit Freeze

Request an Equifax credit freeze online by creating a profile. You will need to provide some personal information such as you:

  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Full name 
  • Current address

By Phone

You can also request a credit freeze by calling (888) 298-0045. You will be given the option of receiving a PIN through text message, which you can use to unfreeze your credit, or you can verify your identity with security questions. 

By Mail

If you prefer to request a credit freeze by mail, send a completed Security Freeze Request Form, and supporting documents such as proof of identity and proof of address, to: 

Equifax Information Services LLC 
P.O. Box 105788 
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788

Experian Credit Freeze

The easiest way to request an Experian credit freeze is online, but you can also request one by phone or mail.

Online Credit Freeze

Experian offers credit freezes online. You don't need to make an account, but you will need to provide personal information such as your:
•    Full name
•    Date of birth
•    Social Security number
•    Email 
•    Address 

Then they give you the option to create a PIN or be given one to unfreeze the account in the future. 

By Mail

You can also request a credit freeze with Experian by mail. You will need your:

  • Social Security number
  • Current address
  • Date of birth
  • Proof of identity 
  • Copy of a utility bill, bank statement, or insurance statement

Send the above documents to: 

Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013.

By Phone

To freeze your credit by phone, call Experian at (888) 397-3742. Please have your personal information handy.

TransUnion Credit Freeze

TransUnion credit freezes can be activated online, by mail, or by phone.

Online Credit Freeze

Like Equifax, TransUnion also offers the option to freeze your credit online by creating an account on their website. They will ask you to provide the same personal information like your:

  • Full name
  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Email

Once the freeze is placed, you can create a PIN, or TransUnion will provide one. 

By Phone

To freeze your credit with TransUnion by phone, you can call (888) 909-8872. You'll be asked to create a 6-digit PIN which you can use to unfreeze your credit.

By Mail

If you would prefer to freeze your credit by mail, you can send a request that includes your:

  • Name 
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • 6-digit PIN (to access your credit freeze)

Send the above information to:

TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Why Should I Freeze My Credit?

You should be contemplating putting a freeze on your credit if you are worried someone has your personal information and is actively trying to steal your identity

Freezing your credit is the most drastic approach you can take regarding credit protection. If you are worried that your credit is in danger, there are other options you can take before freezing your credit, such as putting a lock on your account that will notify you any time you have a new request on your credit. This is an alternative to freezing because requests can still be made; they'll just require your approval first. 

If you see unauthorized charges on your account, receive mail addressed to someone else, or notice other suspicious activity, then freezing your credit may be the best option. 

Don't Forget Your Children!

It may also be a good idea to freeze your child's credit if they are an authorized user on one of your cards. Building up a child's credit when they are young is very smart; however, it puts them at risk of getting their information stolen. Placing a freeze on their credit until they become of age will ensure they have a clean credit history and no chance of fraud. 

How to Remove a Credit Freeze

A credit freeze can last indefinitely, so it is up to you when to unfreeze your account. It is important to remember that you will have to contact each credit bureau separately every time you freeze or unfreeze your account. It may be time to unfreeze your account if you plan to apply for loans, credit cards, or other accounts that require a credit check. 

If you signed up through the credit bureaus' websites or apps, you can unfreeze your account using those same links. If you prefer to unfreeze your account over the phone, make sure you have your PIN ready as well as some personal information like your Social Security number so they can verify your identity. 

Unfreezing your credit is usually instant; however, it could take up to an hour if you do it by phone. The credit bureaus also warn that sending information by mail will be the slowest method, and it could take days to unfreeze your credit. 

Is Freezing Your Credit Too Extreme?

If you think freezing your credit is too drastic of an option, you can always place a fraud alert on your credit report. This may be a better option for you if you plan on applying for a loan or other line of credit in the near future. 

You should also monitor your credit report regularly and ensure all accounts you see on there are accurate and up-to-date. You may even be able to ask for the credit bureaus to remove old creditors from your report to give your credit score a boost. 

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