Frequently Asked Questions
What is a security freeze?
At a consumer's request, a security freeze is placed on his/her
credit file, also known as a "credit history." This prevents anyone
who has fraudulently obtained your personal identifying information (name
in combination with Social Security number, Oregon drivers' license number
or identificaton number, or financial account or credit or debit card number
along with security or access code or password that would provide access to
an account) from opening a new account or borrowing money.
It also, however, prevents legitimate lenders and others
from gaining access to a credit report for review. For example, if you plan
to buy an item where you will need to obtain new credit, that credit company
will need to access your credit files to finalize the sale.
How can I place a security freeze on
my credit file?
Effective October 1, 2007, all Oregon residents may place
a freeze by sending a written request to the three credit reporting agencies:
TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Click
here for procedures, details, and sample letters.
How soon is the freeze in place after
I request it?
Oregon law requires that each credit agency must place a
freeze no later than five business days after receiving the request. After
placing the freeze, each bureau will send, in no later than 10 business days,
a written confirmation with a unique personal identification number (PIN)
or password for the consumer to use.
What's the cost of placing a freeze?
For those who are victims of identity theft, or who have
reported the theft to a law enforcement agency, there is no charge provided
that you supply each credit agency with the proper information: a copy of
the police report or a Federal
Trade Commission Identity Theft Complaint Form.
If you are not an identity theft victim, you still may place
a security freeze but you may have to pay a fee. Each credit agency will charge
$10 to place a security freeze - a total of $30. These fees are in addition
to the cost of mailing your request.
I have a letter telling me that my personal identifying
information was subject to a breach - is this sufficient to obtain a free
According to the law, a person who is a victim of identity
theft is eligible to receive a security freeze at no charge. The documents
to demonstrate you are a victim must be either "a copy of a valid police
report, incident report or identity theft declaration." A copy of one
of these documents must be mailed with your request for a freeze.
Does placing a freeze cover everyone in my household?
Both spouses or partners must freeze their credit files separately
by following the instructions.
How do I "undo" the freeze? What is the cost?
You can temporarily lift or permanently "thaw"
your freeze by follow the procedures in the confirmation letter each credit
reporting agency sent when you first placed your security freeze. By Oregon
law, the bureau(s) must lift the freeze within three business days after receiving
There is a fee to lift the freeze: Each agency will charge
$10 for a temporary or permanent lift. Those who are victims of identity theft
are exempt from the fee provided they supply the agency(ies) with the proper
information. See the cost of placing a freeze above.
If you temporarily lift the freeze to apply for new credit,
keep in mind all merchants and lenders will have access to your account.
Can I apply for new credit with a freeze in place?
No. You will not be able to borrow money, obtain instant
credit, or get a new credit card until you temporarily lift or permanently
remove the freeze. If you need new insurance coverage, or a new employer needs
a background check, you also will need to temporarily or permanently lift
Will some companies still be able to review my credit file
with the freeze in place?
Some government agencies and courts, and private companies
still can access your credit file with the freeze in place. These include
companies you are currently doing business with, companies you owe money to,
and collection agencies.
What message will a potential creditor receive when they
check my "frozen" credit files?
The credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion)
will indicate to the creditor that the file is frozen and therefore the creditor
will not be able to obtain the information needed to extend new credit. Remember
that there are still some companies that will still be able to review your
credit file even though it is frozen. See the Question/Answer above.
Will a "frozen" credit file hurt my credit history?
No, a freeze will not adversely affect your credit history
Do I have to lift the security freeze if I want to increase
the limitation on my home equity line at my bank? What about my credit card?
Because you have an existing relationship with the bank,
credit union or other financial institution that initially established the
credit, your bank or financial institution can review your credit file
Can I order my own credit report if my file has a freeze?
Yes. You can request a free copy of your credit report by
going to www.annualcreditreport.com or calling toll-free at 1-877-322-8228.
A copy of your credit report is available at no charge from each of the three
credit agencies every 12 months.
What is the difference between a security freeze and fraud
A fraud alert is an initial alert that stays on your credit
report for at least 90 days. You may ask that an initial fraud alert be placed
on your credit report if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a
victim of identity theft. An initial alert is appropriate if your wallet has
been stolen or if you've been taken in by a "phishing" scam. (Phishing
occurs when scam artists steal personal information from you by sending email
that claims to be from a legitimate company and says you have a problem with
Businesses may still check your credit report with a fraud
alert in place. Potential creditors must either contact you or use what federal
law refers to as "reasonable policies and procedures" to verify
your identity before issuing credit in your name. However, the steps potential
creditors take to verify your identity may not always alert them that the
applicant is not you.
A security freeze will prevent potential creditors and other
third parties from accessing your credit report at all, unless you lift the
freeze or already have a relationship with the company.
How do I contact the three agencies for more information?
to get contact information for TransUnion, Equifax and Experian to place a
security freeze. For more information on identity theft, see the ID
theft information prepared by the Department of Consumer and Business
Services' Division of Finance and Corporate Securities.