Imagine being a victim of identity theft with your Social Security number exposed during the data breach. That would not be good. Luckily, you can freeze your credit to keep anyone from opening new credit accounts in your name.
Unfreezing your credit with Equifax is easy, primarily if you use the online platform. But, first, create an account and follow the necessary steps. Stay with us and keep reading if you want to find out how to unfreeze your credit with Equifax.
What Is a Credit Freeze?
A credit freeze also called a security freeze, allows restriction on access to your credit report. It lets you take control of your financial information by limiting the release of your credit score and reports to credit reporting agencies.
When you perform a security freeze, it means potential creditors will be unable to access your credit report, making it harder for the identity thief to open new lines of credit in your name. A credit freeze has zero effect on your credit score, and it’s free.
How Do I Place a Credit Freeze on Equifax?
To place a security freeze with Equifax, you can visit the Equifax website. Equifax will ask you for your name, address, Social Security number, and other information to verify your identity to create your “myEquifax” account. You can also contact them on 1-800-349-9660 and give your Social Security number, street address, and state of residence. If you prefer to set up a security freeze via postal mail, the address is Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348.
Equifax will ask for documents that verify your name and address. Acceptable ones include a passport, driver’s license, tax documents, bank statements, military ID, utility bills, etc. When you set a security freeze, you will select or be provided with a personal identification number associated with the freeze. The PIN allows you to unlock your credit file when you want to access lenders and when you apply for credit. Always keep your PIN in a safe place so you can use it when you want to unfreeze your credit.
How Long Does a Credit Freeze Last?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), unfreezing your credit is indefinite. Still, in a few states, a credit freeze expires after seven years, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Do You Need to Freeze Your Credit With All the Credit Bureaus?
Yes, you should freeze your credit with the three major credit bureaus for complete protection. However, unlike a fraud alert, for which you can contact one credit bureau and that bureau must notify the others, a credit freeze requires that you contact each of the three bureaus separately.
To freeze your credit with Experian online, you should access a short form on their website, and you will be asked for some identifying information name, Social Security number, and birthdate. You’ll also get an opportunity to select your PIN. If you want to use postal mail, you can send your request to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.
Suppose you prefer freezing your credit by phone, you 888-397-3742 (888-EXPERIAN). You’ll be asked to provide personal data, such as listed earlier, your credit can be frozen, and you will receive a PIN by postal mail.
Can You Place a Security Freeze for Someone?
With appropriate legal documentation, such as a signed Power of Attorney or court order, you can place a security freeze on the credit reports of an incapacitated adult. You can also place a security freeze on the credit reports of your children under the age of 16 with a birth certificate, a court order, or a foster care certification. For both, you’ll need to verify your identity, their identity, and your ability to act on their behalf legally.
Advantages of Credit Freeze
It stops the opening of new lines of credit.
No one will be able to open new lines of credit or other accounts that require a credit check in your name. If a thief tries to open a credit line, they will be blocked. That’s because lenders always check your credit file to see if you’re a reasonable credit risk and likely to pay back the loan. A credit freeze prevents lenders from checking your credit file.
It Protects You Against Some Types of Identity Fraud
If you have been a victim of identity theft and have placed a freeze on your credit, you may experience fewer instances of attempted fraud involving your personal information. This is because identity thieves will be unable to open new lines of credit in your name, although they may still be able to misuse your existing accounts if they gain access to them.
It Doesn’t Affect Your Credit Score
Freezing your credit won’t affect your credit score. That doesn’t mean, however, that your credit score won’t change. Other factors such as your amount of debt and whether or not you make credit card payments on time Might cause your credit score to rise or fall. You also get your annual credit reports as it doesn’t affect that.
At one time, you might have had to pay a fee to freeze or unfreeze your credit files. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.
Disadvantages of a Credit Freeze
It Takes Effort
It requires some effort to place or lift a credit freeze. For instance, you’ll have to contact all three credit bureaus before unfreezing your credit.
It Requires Keeping Track of Your PINs
You may lose track of your identification numbers to lift and freeze your reports. If you want to lift or freeze your credit reports, you are required to provide your PIN. If you forget or lose your PIN, you’ll have to take extra steps to get a new one.
You’ll Need to Lift the Freeze to Give a Creditor Access to Your Credit File
When it comes time to open a new line of credit, for example, you’ll need to lift the freeze to give the creditor access to your file if you apply for a new credit card.
It Doesn’t Prevent Thieves From Accessing Your Existing Accounts
A credit freeze can help prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name, but it does not keep them from using your existing accounts. That means fraudsters might make charges on a payment card in your wallet.
Ways to Safe Guard Your Credit With Equifax With the Equifax Complete Family Plan
This helps to look after your family with credit observing/monitoring and ID theft safety features. The theft protection features uncover risks and threats. It finds potential fraud with 3-bureau credit monitoring and alerts.
Feel credit-confident with access to your 3-bureau Vantage Score credit scores and report and help protect up to 4 children by locking their Equifax credit reports. If you need complete family plan help, please get in touch with equifax.com if you need any help or credit report assistance.
How to Unfreeze Credit With Equifax
You can unfreeze your Equifax credit report online by using your “myEquifax” account. If you don`t have one, you create your “myEquifax” account. A PIN is no longer needed for online freezing or lifting an Equifax credit freeze. In addition, Equifax allows you to unfreeze your credit momentarily for a particular creditor or a stated period, from one day to one year. You can also permanently unfreeze your credit if you are sure of your security status, but I would not advise that.
If you choose to unfreeze or reinstate a freeze by phone or mail at Equifax, you will need your PIN. Make sure to contact Equifax Security Freeze at P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348; 800-349-9960.