Security Freeze

A security freeze, often known as a credit freeze, limits access to your Experian credit report—helping protect you against identity theft.

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How to freeze or unfreeze your Experian credit file

  • 1

    Sign up for a free Experian account.

  • 2

    Place a freeze to limit access to your Experian credit file.

  • 3

    Unfreeze or schedule a thaw any time.

  • 4

    Get alerts when your freeze status changes.

Security freeze FAQs

How long does a security freeze last?

A security freeze will remain on your credit file until you remove it.

Do you need a PIN to manage a security freeze?

You no longer need a PIN to manage your credit freeze with Experian. All you need is a free Experian account to manage your freeze.

How can I freeze a protected (minor/incapacitated) consumer's file?

Parents and guardians can freeze the credit file of their children under the age of 16. You can request a minor's credit report, fraud alert or security freeze by mail.

How can I unfreeze my credit file?

You can permanently remove/lift a security freeze on your credit file with one click or schedule an unfreeze for a specified time period.

How long does it take to place or remove a security freeze?

You can freeze and unfreeze your Experian credit file in real time using our online service.

How do I check to see if my Experian credit report is frozen?

By signing up for a free account, you can view your credit freeze status and take action.

Security freeze education & advice

  • A security freeze limits access to your Experian credit report without your permission. Freezing your credit can help protect against identity theft and fraud. Having a freeze on your credit report will not affect your credit scores, but it may prevent your credit report from being accessed until you unfreeze your credit report or credit file. Freezing your credit will also prohibit lenders from extending you prequalified offers, such as a mortgage prequalification.

    Freezing or unfreezing your credit report online with Experian is done in real time. You can add or remove a freeze and schedule an unfreeze. When unfreezing your credit report, you have two options. You can permanently remove a freeze until you decide to freeze it again. Alternatively, you can schedule a thaw while your credit report is already frozen, where you can specify the start and end date. This makes it convenient when you know you will need to apply for credit, such as when you are in the market to get a new car loan.

    Every time you place a freeze, remove a freeze, schedule a thaw or cancel a scheduled unfreeze, you will be alerted of updates so you have the confidence that your Experian credit report is secured. Alerts can be sent via email, as long as you have opted in for this service.

  • Yes, a security freeze can limit access to your credit, even if it was authorized by you. If you know you are going to apply for new credit, you can plan ahead and unfreeze or schedule an unfreeze, before you apply.

  • A security freeze will prevent most credit inquiries but there are still a few exceptions where someone can still access your Experian credit report:

    • You can still access and view your own report
    • Your current lenders and card issuers that use credit checks in their account management processes
    • Landlords and rental agencies that are screening you as a potential new tenant
    • Debt collectors attempting to obtain a payment
    • Credit card issuers that have prescreened you for credit offers
    • Potential employers that you have authorized to conduct background checks
    • Child support agencies
    • Government agents executing court orders or warrants
  • You should request a credit freeze immediately after you've been a victim of identity theft or if you think your personal information has been accessed, perhaps in a data breach. Requesting a credit freeze will be important if your Social Security number may have been accessed.

    While a credit freeze might be necessary in some instances, there are times when a fraud alert may be appropriate. A fraud alert lets potential lenders know that your personal information has been compromised and that someone may be trying to apply for credit in your name fraudulently. A fraud alert will not prevent a lender from accessing your credit, but requests the lender to verify your identity before granting you credit. When a fraud alert is requested, the other two credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion) are notified and fraud alerts are added to your credit reports with the 3 major credit reporting bureaus. This fraud alert remains on your credit report for one year. An extended fraud alert, which lasts for 7 years, can also be added, where an identity theft report from law enforcement is required.

  • If you place a security freeze on your Experian credit report, it is not automatically shared with other credit reporting agencies. To freeze your other credit reports, you will need to contact Equifax® and TransUnion® separately.

    Online: website
    Mail: P.O. Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374
    Online: website
    Mail: P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016
  • Experian's online service is the easiest and quickest way to manage your credit freeze. If you cannot access our online service, you can contact us by:

    Mail
    If you would like to request a security freeze with Experian by mail you can write to:
    Experian Security Freeze
    P.O. Box 9554
    Allen, TX 75013

    Written requests should include the following information:

    • Your full name
    • Social Security number
    • Complete addresses for the past two years
    • Date of birth
    • A government issued identification card, such as a driver's license
    • Copy of a utility bill or bank statement

    Ensure that each copy is legible and displays your name, current mailing address and issue date. Updating your security freeze or unfreeze will take up to 3 days upon receiving your mailed request.

    Phone
    You can also contact us by phone to add or remove a security freeze.
    1-888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
  • A security freeze and Experian CreditLock will both limit access to your Experian credit report, while a fraud alert requests creditors to verify your identity before granting credit.

    Cost
    Free
    When to use
    When you are or suspect you are a victim of identity theft and to help prevent identity theft
    Are credit applications blocked?
    Yes, credit inquiries for new credit applications are blocked on your Experian credit file
    Shared with other bureaus?
    No, you have to initiate a freeze at each bureau
    How long it lasts
    Permanent, until you unfreeze
    Can you remove?
    Yes, you can easily freeze, remove or schedule a removal online
    Do you get alerts for attempted inquiries?
    No, but you can receive alerts when something changes with your freeze status
    Can you still get prequalified offers?
    No
    Cost
    Included in a paid membership
    When to use
    When you are concerned about identity theft and want the ability to easily lock and unlock your Experian credit file
    Are credit applications blocked?
    Yes
    Shared with other bureaus?
    No
    How long it lasts
    Permanent, until you unlock or cancel your paid subscription
    Can you remove?
    Yes, you can easily lock, unlock or schedule an unlock online
    Do you get alerts for attempted inquiries?
    Yes, you can get mobile and/or email alerts for any suspicious inquiries when your credit report is locked
    Can you still get prequalified offers?
    Yes, you can still receive prequalified credit offers from Experian, such as credit cards or mortgage loans that you may qualify for
    Cost
    Free
    When to use
    When you are or suspect you are a victim of identity theft and you plan to use credit within the next months or years
    Are credit applications blocked?
    No, creditors are instructed to verify your identity before processing credit or loan applications made in your name
    Shared with other bureaus?
    Yes, a fraud alert placed at any credit bureau is shared with the others
    How long it lasts
    1 year for a fraud alert; 7-year extended alert available
    Can you remove?
    Yes, you can mail or upload your request online
    Do you get alerts for attempted inquiries?
    Possibly: Some creditors may have automated approval systems to handle identity-confirmation and some may contact you to complete an application in your name, but all creditors are instructed to verify your identity before processing
    Can you still get prequalified offers?
    Yes
  • The first step in protecting yourself from identity theft is learning how it occurs. From there, you can start taking steps to limit your exposure. There's no way to prevent identity theft entirely, but you can make it harder for criminals to gain access to your information and accounts.

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