You have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. A security freeze must be requested in writing by certified 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, 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 for a period of time or for a specific party after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization you must contact the consumer reporting agency and provide all of the following:
- The personal identification number or password;
- Proper identification to verify your identity; and
- The proper information regarding the period of time or the specific party for which the report shall be available.
A consumer reporting agency must authorize the release of your credit report no later than three business days after receiving the above information. After September 1, 2008, a consumer credit reporting agency must authorize the release of your credit report no later than 15 minutes after receiving the request.
A security freeze does not apply to a person or entity, or its affiliates, or collection agencies acting on behalf of the person or entity, with which you have an existing account, that requests information in your credit report for the purposes of reviewing or collecting the account. Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.
You have a right to bring civil action against anyone, including a consumer reporting agency, who improperly obtains access to a file, knowingly or willfully misuses file data, or fails to correct inaccurate file data.
Unless you are a victim of identity theft with a police report to verify the crimes, a consumer reporting agency has the right to charge you up to $10 to place a freeze on your credit report.