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How do I place a security freeze? Itís EasyÖ Policeprivacy.com has prepared your credit freeze letters and mailing envelopes for each of the three credit bureaus. All you have to do is follow the simple instructions and mail them. The letters can be found in your Privacy Letter Package.
Can I open new credit accounts if my files are frozen? Yes. If you want to open a new credit account or get a new loan, you can lift the freeze on your credit file. You can lift it for a period of time. Or you can lift it for a specific creditor. After you send your letter asking for the freeze, each of the credit bureaus will send you a Personal Identification Number (PIN). You will also get instructions on how to lift the freeze. You can lift the freeze by phone, using your PIN. The credit bureaus must lift your freeze within three days. The fee for lifting the freeze temporarily is $10 for a date-range lift and $12 for a lift for a specific creditor.
What is the difference between a fraud alert and a freeze? A fraud alert is a special message on the report that a credit issuer receives when checking a consumerís credit rating. It tells the credit issuer that there may be fraud involved in the account. A fraud alert can help protect you against identity theft. A fraud alert can also slow down your ability to get new credit. It should not stop you from using your existing credit cards or other accounts. A security freeze means that your credit file cannot be seen by potential creditors, insurance companies, or employers doing background checks - unless you give your consent. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without first checking a consumerís credit history.
How long does it take for a security freeze to be in effect? Credit bureaus must place the freeze no later than five business days after receiving your written request.
How long does it take for a security freeze to be lifted? Credit bureaus must lift a freeze no later than three business days after receiving your request.
What will a creditor who requests my file see if it is frozen? A creditor will see a message or a code indicating that the file is frozen.
Can a creditor get my credit score if my file is frozen? No. A creditor who requests your file from one of the three credit bureaus will only get a message or a code indicating that the file is frozen.
Can I order my own credit report if my file is frozen? Yes.
Can anyone see my credit file if it is frozen? When you have a security freeze on your credit file, certain entities still have access to it. Your report can still be released to your existing creditors or to collection agencies acting on their behalf. They can use it to review or collect on your account. Other creditors may also use your information to make offers of credit-unless you opt out of receiving such offers. See below for how to opt out of pre-approved credit offers. Government agencies may have access for collecting child support payments or taxes or for investigating Medi-Cal fraud. Government agencies may also have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.
Do I have to freeze my file with all three credit bureaus? Yes. Different credit issuers may use different credit bureaus. If you want to stop your credit file from being viewed, you need to freeze it with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Will a freeze lower my credit score? No.
Can an employer do a background check on me if I have a freeze on my credit file? No. You would have to lift the freeze to allow a background check or to apply for insurance, just as you would to apply for credit. The process for lifting the freeze is described above.
Does freezing my file mean that I wonít receive pre-approved credit offers? No. You can stop the pre-approved credit offers by calling 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688). Or you can do this online at www.optoutprescreen.com. This will stop most of the offers, the ones that go through the credit bureaus. Itís good for five years or you can make it permanent.
Does my spouseís file have to be frozen, too? Yes. Both spouses have to freeze their separate credit files, via separate letters requesting the freeze, in order to get the benefit. That means the total cost for freezing is $10 x 3 credit bureaus x 2 people = $60.
Credit Freeze Program - Frequently Asked Questions