You have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer credit reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. A security freeze must be requested in writing by certified or overnight mail. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit mortgage, government services or payments, insurance, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular phone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale. When you place a security freeze on your credit report, you will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your credit report or authorize the release of your credit report to a specific party or for a period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization you must contact the consumer credit reporting agency and provide all of the following:
- The personal identification number or password;
- Proper identification to verify your identity;
- The proper information regarding the party or parties who are to receive the credit report or the period of time for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report; and
- Payment of any applicable fee.
A consumer reporting agency must authorize the release of your credit report no later than three business days after receiving the above information.
A security freeze does not apply to circumstances in which you have an existing account relationship and a copy of your report is requested by your existing creditor or its agents or affiliates for certain types of account review, collection, fraud control or similar activities.
If you are actively seeking credit, you should understand that the procedures involved in lifting a security freeze may slow your application for credit. You should plan ahead and lift a freeze, either completely if you are shopping around, or specifically for a certain creditor, before applying for new credit.
Additional rights under your state’s law, which are also in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, are explained in the Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.