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 file.
- 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 freeze placements)
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Security Freezes for Children
A parent or legal guardian can create
a protected record for their minor child through the three major credit reporting
agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). The parent or legal guardian
then can place a security freeze on this record. There is no fee to create
the protect record; however, the existing $10 fee to freeze
a credit file still applies($10 to each credit reporting agency). A freeze
on a protective record cannot be temporarily lifted; at the point the child
reaches the age of 18, the child can delete the protective record. A protective
record cannot be used as the basis of a credit decision, but it can be used
for certain background checks.
You must contact each credit reporting agency to create the protected
record and place the freeze. At this time you can only request the protected
record and security freeze by mailing the credit reporting agencies. Below
are links to their sites with instructions.
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 reporting agency.
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
- 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 fee.
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