Why should I freeze my credit?

  • Identity thieves will not be approved for credit in your name as it blocks the creditors from being able to look at your credit file, aka “pull your credit”. If the creditors cannot see your credit file, then they cannot grant credit.
  • Keeps your credit score from being affected, as anytime a creditor pulls your file, your credit score is lowered. Now no entity can pull it unless you “unfreeze” it.

How do I execute this security freeze?

  • Contact each of the major credit bureaus and communicate to them that you wish to “place a freeze on your credit file”.
  • For each of the four credit bureaus (yes there are four, and most people think there are only three), go online (links at the end of this document). If that does not work you may have to contact them by phone.
  • During this process, each credit bureau will provide a unique personal identification number (PIN) that you would use to unfreeze or “thaw” your credit file. In most cases you can pick your own PIN.  Please do not use anything easy to guess like an anniversary date or birth date.

Why/When would I unfreeze my credit file?

  • When you need to apply for any line of credit (loans, mortgage, etc.), find out which credit bureau the company that you are applying for credit from uses, and unfreeze your credit file from that bureau only. Remember to re-freeze after you are accepted!

Do I have to pay to freeze/unfreeze my credit file?

  • For any state, if you are a victim of identity theft it costs you nothing
  • For the State of Texas, $10 per request per credit bureau ($40 for all four credit bureaus).
  • Excerpt from State of Texas House Bill #222
    • “The amount of the charge for placing a security freeze on a consumer file, temporarily lifting a security freeze for a designated period, or removing a security freeze may not exceed $10 per request. The amount of the charge for temporarily lifting a security freeze for an identified requester may not exceed $12 per request.”

*For the entire bill see http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/80R/billtext/pdf/SB00222F.pdf

How do I contact the 4 credit bureaus?

How do I keep criminals from opening accounts (bank/credit cards) in my name?

  • Keeping the criminals from opening checking and savings accounts under your name
  • Help in stopping criminals from obtaining new credit cards in your name
    • Identity thieves intercept the offers of new credit and insurance sent via the U.S. Post Service mail. You should highly consider opting out of any pre-approved credit offers.  You have two choices: opt-out for 5 years or permanently.  Should you decide you want to receive those offers again you can. Visit this webpage to start the process: https://www.chexsystems.com/web/chexsystems/consumerdebit/page/home

How do I spot check my credit report?

You should periodically order a free copy of your credit report.  Each of the credit bureaus by law, must provide a free copy of your credit report each year.  This is facilitated via the government-mandated website annualcreditreport.com.  Make a notation in your calendar to request a copy of your report every 120 days.  Review it, and if you spot anything that is wrong or questionable report it to the credit bureau.

For additional information you can visit the Federal Trade Commissions website at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs