How to obtain a security freeze
If a thief has stolen your personal information, they usually
try to open new credit accounts or run up charges on existing accounts. When
the bills aren't paid, you are the one holding the delinquent account, and
that will negatively affect your credit report.
Placing a security freeze on your credit file is one deterrent
against identity theft.
All Oregonians can place a security freeze on their credit
file maintained by the three major national credit reporting agencies, Equifax,
Experian, or TransUnion. Once activated, someone who has fraudulently obtained
your personal identifying information cannot open new accounts or borrow money.
The freeze will also prevent lenders and others from gaining access to your
credit report for review.
Before you freeze
Keep in mind that a security freeze will not prevent an identity
thief from misusing existing credit cards and credit accounts. Click
here for guidance if your credit cards have been stolen.
Before you decide to apply an optional freeze to your credit
files, will you need to buy anything that would require a look at your credit
history? For example, if you plan to get new mobile phone service, the credit
company will need to access your credit files to finalize the sale.
How to Obtain a Security Freeze
- Depending on the credit reporting agency, you can request
a freeze online, by phone, or by mail. If you request by mail, we have provided
letters for you to use in a convenient Word
fillable format. If you do not have Word, the letters are also available
in a PDF version for you to print and fill
out by hand.
Note: If using the fillable version, fill out and
print all three letters at the same time.
- Allow five business days upon receipt of your request
for the credit reporting agencies to place a security freeze on your credit
- Expect a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN)
in a confirmation letter from each of the credit reporting agencies, which,
by law, must be sent within 10 days of placing the security freeze.
Keep all documents relating to placing your security freeze.
If you misplace or lose your assigned personal identification number (PIN),
the credit reporting agencies can charge up to $10 to reissue or reassign
a new PIN.
By phone: 1-800-680-7289 (Press 3 then follow prompts)
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
By Phone: 1-888- 298-0045 between the hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday
through Friday in the consumer's time zone.
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
By Phone: 1-888-EXPERIAN (Press 2 then follow prompts for security
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Security Freezes for Children
A parent or legal guardian can protect their children from
unauthorized use of their credit by placing a freeze on their credit file.
Follow these steps:
- Contact the three major credit reporting agencies Equifax,
Experian and TransUnion (see below).
- Follow the instructions by each agency. Note that you
will need to provide them with personal information including Social Security
numbers and your child's birth certificate including Social Security number.
If you are a guardian of a minor, you must submit a copy of the court document
naming you as the guardian.
- Submit a $10 fee to each agency.
Once the freeze is placed, it cannot be temporarily lifted
like it can for an adult. When the child reaches 18 years of age, they can
decide if they want to permanently lift it.
Note that a business or lender cannot deny extending credit
based on the freeze, however the frozen credit file can be used for certain
Click "Add a Security Freeze", then click "Place a Security
Freeze on Minor's Credit File"
If you are victim of identity theft or have reported the
theft of your personal information to a law enforcement agency, there is no
fee. To do this, you must submit a valid copy of a police incident report
or a copy of a form filed with the Federal
Trade Commission Complaint Assistant. Because you need to submit documents,
you only have the option of obtaining a freeze by mail.
Even if you are not a victim of identity theft, you can still
place a security freeze, but you will need to pay a $10 fee to each credit
Important note: One security freeze does not cover everyone
in a household. Spouses or partners must freeze their credit files separately.
Access to Your File under a Freeze
Even if you have a security freeze, some government agencies,
law enforcement and courts, and private companies can still access your credit
files under certain circumstances. These include companies you are doing business
with, companies to which you owe money, and collection agencies.
"Thawing" the Freeze
Consumers who do place a security freeze on their credit
report can temporarily or permanently remove the freeze or "thaw"
their file to apply for new credit. Credit reporting agencies must lift a
freeze within three business days after receiving the request.
- Follow the procedures in the confirmation letter each
credit reporting agency sent when you first placed your security freeze.
Each agency will charge a fee of $10 to lift the freeze. (No fee will be
charged if you are an identity theft victim or have reported the theft to
- Use the password or PIN to temporarily lift or permanently
remove your security freeze.
- Expect a credit reporting agency to remove or lift the
security freeze within three business days of your request provided you
submit proper identification, your password or PIN, and payment of any applicable
Note: If you temporarily lift the freeze to apply for new
credit, keep in mind that all merchants and lenders will have access to your
Security Freeze vs. Fraud Alert
A fraud alert is an initial, immediate alert that stays on
your credit report for at least 90 days. You can request an alert be placed
on your credit report if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a
victim of identity theft. Placing the alert means that your credit report
will be flagged and creditors are required to call you before extending credit.
However, unlike a security freeze, businesses can 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. Thus, the steps
potential creditors take to verify your identity may not always alert them
that the applicant is not you.
A security freeze on your credit report is stronger than
a fraud alert because it prevents anyone from accessing your credit file for
any reason unless you instruct the credit reporting agencies to unfreeze your
For more information about placing a fraud alert, contact
one of the three national credit reporting agencies listed below. You only
need to contact one of the three to place a fraud alert.
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com;
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com;
P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com;
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790