Credit Freeze, Credit Lock & Fraud Alert FAQs

A credit freeze (also referred to as a security freeze) restricts access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts with your information. If you place a freeze on your credit report at one or all 3 credit bureaus, your credit report cannot be used by a lender to open a new account in your name. A freeze may also prevent your information from being released for other account applications (such as requesting a line of credit, opening a bank account, or applying for a credit card). It also limits your flexibility to take advantage of good credit card offers, purchasing a home, and more. Because it can take time to lift a credit freeze, you should plan ahead before applying for credit if you have frozen your credit.

To find information on the steps you should take to freeze your credit with each bureau, visit Equifax Security Freeze & Fraud Alerts, Experian Security Freeze, and Transunion Freeze Support Center online and then provide them with your identity information by mail, online or by phone. For full protection, you should freeze your credit file at each of the 3 major U.S. credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union).

Like a credit freeze, a credit lock prevents your credit report from being accessed at the bureau where you locked it. You should establish the lock at all 3 credit bureaus. If you place a lock on your credit report, it may stop you from opening new accounts in your name, but it can be unlocked more quickly than unfreezing your credit. If you plan to apply for credit cards, request a loan, apply for a new job, or purchase a car, a credit lock may be a better fit for you than a credit freeze. Visit Experian CreditLock, Transunion Freeze Support Center, and Equifax Security Freeze & Fraud Alerts for details on how to lock your credit at each of the credit bureaus.

Here are more resources on credit lock, freeze, and alerts from Citi:

For additional information visit these credit bureau resources:

Phone numbers for each of the nationwide credit reporting companies:

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