Consumers in all 50 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico can ask the national credit bureaus--Equifax, Experian and TransUnion---to place a freeze on their credit report. That’s a move we think is worth considering if you suspect identity thieves may have access to the information required to apply for credit in your name, including your address and Social Security Number.
A credit freeze prevents lenders from pulling your credit report, typically a necessary step lenders require in approving new credit. If you subsequently apply for new credit, and so want lenders to be able to access your reports, you may “unfreeze” those records, either permanently or temporarily.
The maximum fees the agencies may charge for freezing (and later unfreezing) a report are governed by state law. Since all three credit bureaus may be contacted by a prospective lender, and because you must freeze your report separately at each bureau, we’ve combined the fees from all three to calculate a total cost by state to freeze and unfreeze your reports.