How to Add a Security Freeze to Your Credit File

Frustrated couple having bills to pay.
Dear Experian,

How can I get a credit freeze on my report?


Dear FSG,

You can request a security freeze be added to your credit report at Experian's online Freeze Center, by phone at 1 888 EXPERIAN (1 888 397 3742), or by mail to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.

Security Freeze vs. Fraud Alert

People sometimes confuse a security freeze with a fraud alert. While a fraud alert notifies lenders that you may be a victim of identity theft, freezing your credit file prevents potential new lenders from accessing your credit report without the freeze first being lifted by you.

How to Unfreeze Your Credit Report

When you freeze your credit report, you will be asked to create a PIN, or personal identification number. Before applying for credit, you would first need to lift your freeze using the PIN. If you do not remember your PIN, you may still remove a security freeze by answering a few questions verifying your identity.

Freezes can be lifted on either a permanent or a temporary basis. You would also have the option of providing a temporary, single-use PIN to the company with which you wish to apply.

Should You Freeze Your Credit Report?

Depending on your situation, requesting an initial security alert may be sufficient. The alert warns lenders that you are at risk of fraud and ask that they take action to verify your identity before granting credit in your name.

If you are planning to apply for credit in the near future it may be better to not freeze your credit file, or to postpone freezing it until you no longer need access to the credit marketplace.

To learn more about fraud alerts and freezes visit Experian's Fraud Center and Freeze Center.

Thanks for asking.

The "Ask Experian" team

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