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Getting Started with Credit Freezes

What is a credit freeze?

Also known as a security freeze, a credit freeze allows you to restrict access to your credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Most creditors will want to request your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can't review your report, they may not extent credit and then no account would be opened.

Keep in mind, however, that a credit freeze may prevent you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment or buying insurance. If you need to do any of these, you can lift the freeze temporarily either for a specified time or to allow access to a specified party. You can have the freeze lifted for free and place it again for free when you are done allowing access to your credit.

While a credit freeze can help prevent identity thieves from opening accounts using your information, they will not prevent a thief from accessing existing accounts and will not prevent prescreened offers of credit.

All the national bureaus are required, by law, to offer you credit freezes for free. Remember, freezing your credit will not impact your credit score or prevent you from getting your free annual credit report and your existing creditors and certain governmental agencies will still have access to your credit report.

How to place a Credit Freeze

Contact each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. If you do not freeze at all three sources, your credit file will still be available for lenders to access.

To confirm your identity, you may need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. 

After receiving your freeze request, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PINs or passwords in a safe place. You will need them if you choose to lift the freeze with each bureau.

In almost all states, a credit freeze lasts until you temporarily lift or permanently remove it. In a few states, it expires after seven years.

§For NortonLifeLock offerings provided to you by a Service Provider or through channels outside the United States, the LifeLock identity theft protection services and coverage, plan feature names and functionality might differ from the services offered directly by NortonLifeLock. Please contact your Service Provider for details on their NortonLifeLock plan offerings.

^The Identity Theft Reimbursement Coverage with a limit of up to $25,000 for Basic Plus, up to $100,000 for Premium and up to $1 Million for Premium Plus, is underwritten and administered by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, an Assurant company, under group or blanket policies issued to LifeLock or its respective affiliates for the benefit of its Members. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, exclusions of coverage, and for the types of experts that may be covered for reimbursement of professional service fees. Experts not specified in the policies will not qualify for reimbursement. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. Review the Summary of Benefits under the Insurance Coverage (Canada) here.

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Last modified: 05/26/2020