Credit Freeze Frequently Asked Questions

How will a credit freeze protect me?
Placing a security freeze on your credit reports means an identity thief ó even one who has your name, address, Social Security number, birth date and more ó will not be able to get new loans and credit in your name. Thatís because lenders, retailers, utilities and other businesses need access to a credit report to review and approve new credit, loans, and services.
Who can freeze their credit?
Any citizen of California can freeze their credit. Similar legislation is now in place for Texas, Louisiana & Vermont.
How do I freeze my credit?

Please read the information for each bureau:

How much will it cost?

Victims of identity theft can access the service for free. You’ll have to provide documentation, however, from a police report or the DMV. For others, the cost is $10. Please read the specific cost for each bureau:

Isn’t this just another way for the credit bureaus to get more money from us?

It might seem that way, but Californians should feel lucky that this is available. Fraud alerts are ignored by some creditors and a security freeze provides a much stronger means of protection. The service is free for victims, and believe me, they are glad to have the option.

Will I need to freeze my report with each credit bureau?
Yes. When you go to buy a new car, open a charge account, or refinance your house, you don’t know which bureau the lender will use to request your report. In other words, for the best protection you’ll need to freeze your credit at each bureau.
How will I open new credit lines if my report is frozen?
People whoíve frozen their credit reports can still get new loans and credit for themselves. Credit bureaus have set up a PIN-based system to allow people with frozen credit reports to contact the credit bureau, provide a PIN number, and allow their credit report to be released to a specific lender or for a specific period of time. Credit bureaus are obligated to release the report within three business days of such a request.
Will I be able to request my own report if my credit is frozen?

Seems like the answer is yes, though Equifax is saying no. On 9/21/02 Amendment SB 1730 was enacted into law that allowed access to a frozen file to include:

a) Section 1785.11.2 (l) (8) Any person or entity administering a credit file monitoring subscription service to which the consumer has subscribed.

b) Section 1785.2 (l) (9) Any person or entity for the purpose of providing a consumer with a copy of his or her credit report upon the consumer’s request.

So as long as the you initiate the request then you should be able to see your report, whether or not a freeze is in place.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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