I am getting ready to freeze mine as someone, somehow stole my identity and opened a zero balance in Huntington Bank and set up Bill's to pay. Had I not gotten a debit card in the mail this past Saturday I would not have known. When I called the bank..they had closed the account as fraudulent. They also gave me the gmail acct the person used and phone number..someone from Oklahoma. I'm filing a police report today. And Turbo and transunion also state I have a new employer. Knews to me as I've been with my employer for 24 yrs.
How do you unfreeze your credit? I blocked mine because my phone was hacked and all my info is on it. But now trying to buy a home my credit is locked and I can't figure out how to unlock it. 😒
There are two different procedures.
A freeze is governed by federal law. Credit bureaus must offer it, and you can freeze your credit report online without an account with the credit bureau. However, the credit bureau can charge a nominal fee for freezes, or temporary or permanent lifting the freeze, depending on state law.
All three credit bureaus also allow you to "lock" your credit report. You can do this by registering for a free online account with each bureau. They will try to upsell you to a paid membership but you don't have to take it. A lock is generally the same as a freeze, but it is controlled by the bureau's terms and conditions, rather than the law, so the terms might be different. Locks are easier to temporarily unlock.
I have locked or frozen all my credit accounts just to prevent mischief. I've occasionally lost a credit card or had a fraudulent charge, but mostly its a precaution. If your accounts are frozen or locked, you must remember to unlock or unfreeze them before applying for new credit (you can lock them again after).
@Opus 17 , what free method have you found to freely lock at Experian? While Equifax (Lock & Alert app) and TransUnion (myTransUnion app) are free to use, the Experian app requires one of their monthly service plans to be able to access the lock feature. For Experian, I have to use the Experian Freeze website to do a freeze or a lift.
Yes. Both my husband got hacked and I froze not only our Social Security accounts but TransUnion and Equifax. I was able to do this by phone and online, respectively. As I recall Experian made us jump through all these hoops so I skipped that one. We were told that there would be a 90 day hold but recently I found out that TransUnion still has it frozen but that is fine by me. When you need a credit check from TransUnion, you can unfreeze it for 30 days.
Good luck and let me know if you need any further help.
Remember that a freeze is different from a lock.
The credit bureaus are required by federal law to offer a credit freeze. It used to be that they could charge a small fee, but it is now free to freeze and unfreeze your credit. Read more here.
Here is Experian's page for free Credit Freezes.
A Credit Lock is something offered by the three credit bureaus because they decided if they have to allow free freezes, maybe they can get some money out of it.
Because a credit freeze is controlled by federal law, the terms and conditions are the same for all three bureaus. You don't have to be a member or have an account, it's free, but it can be complicated to verify your identity. You will get a 10 digit PIN to freeze and unfreeze your account, and if you lose it, you will be in paperwork hell for a long time to prove your identity and unfreeze your credit.
Each company offers their own lock, and the terms and conditions may be different. It might require a subscription or a membership. The company may be able to share your information with marketing partners (if that's part of the terms of service) which they can't do with a freeze. It may be easier to lock and unlock your account than to freeze and unfreeze it, since the company can set their own procedures for recovering lost passwords and so on.
I think I probably have the free freeze at Experian and free locks at the other two.
This January I found out that my SSN was used to establish an Unemployment Claim in OH in 2020 as I received a 1099G for 2020. I filed an Identity Theft claim with ODJFS, OH State Dept, FTC.gov, AG OH, FBI.gov and the three major credit reporting agencies to lock my credit reports. The breach was with Equifax when several million credit files including SSN and full info was hacked and became available on the dark web. The Federal Trade Commission sued and won concessions from Equifax which can be investigated at FTC.gov/identitytheft. The FTC has an excellent web page where you can register and utilize a highly secure, dual encryption site for the five-step mitigation plan for remediating identity theft. I currently work under temporary third-party contract to ODJFS where I advise victims on mitigation procedures.