21
Sep 18

Credit Freezes are Free: Let the Ice Age Begin

It is now free in every U.S. state to freeze and unfreeze your credit file and that of your dependents, a process that blocks identity thieves and others from looking at private details in your consumer credit history. If you’ve been holding out because you’re not particularly worried about ID theft, here’s another reason to reconsider: The credit bureaus profit from selling copies of your file to others, so freezing your file also lets you deny these dinosaurs a valuable revenue stream.

Enacted in May 2018, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act rolls back some of the restrictions placed on banks in the wake of the Great Recession of the last decade. But it also includes a silver lining. Previously, states allowed the bureaus to charge a confusing range of fees for placing, temporarily thawing or lifting a credit freeze. Today, those fees no longer exist.

A security freeze essentially blocks any potential creditors from being able to view or “pull” your credit file, unless you affirmatively unfreeze or thaw your file beforehand. With a freeze in place on your credit file, ID thieves can apply for credit in your name all they want, but they will not succeed in getting new lines of credit in your name because few if any creditors will extend that credit without first being able to gauge how risky it is to loan to you (i.e., view your credit file).

And because each credit inquiry caused by a creditor has the potential to lower your credit score, the freeze also helps protect your score, which is what most lenders use to decide whether to grant you credit when you truly do want it and apply for it.

To file a freeze, consumers must contact each of the three major credit bureaus online, by phone or by mail. Here’s the updated contact information for the big three:

Online: Equifax Freeze Page
By phone: 800-685-1111
By Mail: Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5788

Online: Experian
By phone: 888-397-3742
By Mail: Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013

Online: TransUnion
By Phone: 888-909-8872
By Mail: TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016

Spouses may request freezes for each other by phone as long as they pass authentication.

The new law also makes it free to place, thaw and lift freezes for dependents under the age of 16, or for incapacitated adult family members. However, this process is not currently available online or by phone, as it requires parents/guardians to submit written documentation (“sufficient proof of authority”), such as a copy of a birth certificate and copy of a Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration, or — in the case of an incapacitated family member — proof of power of attorney.

In addition, the law requires the big three bureaus to offer free electronic credit monitoring services to all active duty military personnel. It also changes the rules for “fraud alerts,” which currently are free but only last for 90 days. With a fraud alert on your credit file, lenders or service providers should not grant credit in your name without first contacting you to obtain your approval — by phone or whatever other method you specify when you apply for the fraud alert.

Another important change: Fraud alerts now last for one year (previously they lasted just 90 days) but consumers can renew them each year. Bear in mind, however, that while lenders and service providers are supposed to seek and obtain your approval before granting credit in your name if you have a fraud alert on your file, they’re not legally required to do this.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

Having a freeze in place does nothing to prevent you from using existing lines of credit you may already have, such as credit, mortgage and bank accounts. By the same token, freezes do nothing to prevent crooks from abusing unauthorized access to these existing accounts.

According to experts, the bureaus make about $1 every time they sell access your credit file. However, a freeze on your file does nothing to prevent the bureaus from collecting information about you as a consumer — including your spending habits and preferences — and packaging, splicing and reselling that information to marketers.

When you place a freeze, each credit bureau will assign you a personal identification number (PIN) that needs to be supplied if and when you ever wish to open a new line of credit. When that time comes, consumers can temporarily thaw a freeze for a specified duration either online or by phone (see above resources). Needless to say, it’s a good idea to keep these PINs somewhere safe and reliable in the event you wish to unfreeze.

One important caveat: It’s best not to wait until the last minute before starting the freeze thawing process, which can be instantaneous or can take a few days. The easiest way to unfreeze your file for the purposes of gaining new credit is to spend a few minutes on the phone with the company from which you hope to gain the line of credit (or research the matter online) to see which credit bureau they rely upon for credit checks. It will most likely be one of the major bureaus. Once you know which bureau the creditor uses, contact that bureau either via phone or online and supply the PIN they gave you when you froze your credit file with them. The thawing process should not take more than 24 hours, but hiccups in the thawing process sometimes make things take longer.

CREDIT LOCKS AND CREDIT MONITORING

All three big bureaus tout their “credit lock” services as an easier and faster alternative to freezes — mainly because these alternatives aren’t as disruptive to their bottom lines. According to a recent post by CreditKarma.com, consumers can use these services to quickly lock or unlock access to credit inquiries, although some bureaus can take up to 48 hours. In contrast, they can take up to five business days to act on a freeze request, although in my experience the automated freeze process via the bureaus’ freeze sites has been more or less instantaneous (assuming the request actually goes through).

TransUnion and Equifax both offer free credit lock services, while Experian’s is free for 30 days and $19.99 for each additional month. However, TransUnion says those who take advantage of their free lock service agree to receive targeted marketing offers. What’s more, TransUnion also pushes consumers who sign up for its free lock service to subscribe to its “premium” lock services for a monthly fee with a perpetual auto-renewal.

Unsurprisingly, the bureaus’ use of the term credit lock has confused many consumers; this was almost certainly by design. But here’s one basic fact consumers should keep in mind about these lock services: Unlike freezes, locks are not governed by any law, meaning that the credit bureaus can change the terms of these arrangements when and if it suits them to do so.

If you have already signed up for credit monitoring services, placing a freeze on your file should not impact those services. However, it is generally not possible to sign up for new credit monitoring services once a freeze is in place. So if you wish to avail yourself of credit monitoring, it’s best to sign up before placing a freeze.

Many consumers erroneously believe that credit monitoring services will protect them from identity thieves. In truth, despite incessant marketing by the bureaus and others to the contrary, these services do not prevent thieves from using your identity to open new lines of credit, or from damaging your good name for years to come in the process. The most you can hope for is that credit monitoring services will alert you soon after an ID thief does steal your identity.

Credit monitoring services are principally useful in helping consumers recover from identity theft. Doing so often requires dozens of hours writing and mailing letters, and spending time on the phone contacting creditors and credit bureaus to straighten out the mess. In cases where identity theft leads to prosecution for crimes committed in your name by an ID thief, you may incur legal costs as well. Most of these services offer to reimburse you up to a certain amount for out-of-pocket expenses related to those efforts. But a better solution is to prevent thieves from stealing your identity in the first place by placing a freeze.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU DO?

Freezing your credit file at the big three bureaus is a great start, but ID thieves can and do abuse other parts of the credit system to wreak havoc on consumers. Beyond the big three bureaus, Innovis is a distant fourth bureau that some entities use to check consumer creditworthiness. Fortunately, filing a freeze with Innovis also is free and relatively painless.

In addition, many wireless phone companies currently check consumer credit using a little-known credit reporting bureau operated by Equifax called the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE). Freezing your credit with Equifax won’t necessarily block inquiries to the NCTUE, but fortunately the NCTUE also offers a freeze process, as detailed in this story.

It’s a good idea to periodically order a free copy of your credit report. There are several forms of identity theft that probably will not be blocked by a freeze. But neither will they be blocked by a fraud alert or a credit lock. That’s why it’s so important to regularly review your credit file with the major bureaus for any signs of unauthorized activity.

By law, each of the three major credit reporting bureaus must provide a free copy of your credit report each year — but only if you request it via the government-mandated site annualcreditreport.com. The best way to take advantage of this right is to make a notation in your calendar to request a copy of your report every 120 days, to review the report and to report any inaccuracies or questionable entries when and if you spot them. Avoid other sites that offer “free” credit reports and then try to trick you into signing up for something else.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, having a freeze in place should not affect a consumer’s ability to obtain copies of their credit report from annualcreditreport.com.

It’s also a good idea to notify a company called ChexSystems to keep an eye out for fraud committed in your name. Thousands of banks rely on ChexSystems to verify customers that are requesting new checking and savings accounts, and ChexSystems lets consumers place a security alert on their credit data to make it more difficult for ID thieves to fraudulently obtain checking and savings accounts. For more information on doing that with ChexSystems, see this link.

Finally, ID thieves like to intercept offers of new credit and insurance sent via postal mail, so it’s a good idea to opt out of pre-approved credit offers. If you decide that you don’t want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently.

To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies. To complete your request for a permanent opt-out, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form provided after you initiate your online request.

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90 comments

  1. Thank you for this excellent resource!

  2. The Sunshine State

    Great article on the subject

  3. That’s the good news. Thanks for reporting it!

    Although whoever wants to place this freeze needs to be aware that it may potentially impact your current insurance rate. For instance, your car insurance provider may pull your credit info every 6 months or a year to assess your credit worthiness. And if they fail to do so your premiums may silently start to rise. This happened to me, and thus I had to stop using these freezes.

    The industry must be aware of it. That is the only way it would work in our (consumer) benefit.

    • Dennis, that’s just silly. If your insurance company is going to penalize you for using a freeze, it’s time to find another insurance provider. Seriously, these companies will only stop punishing consumers for doing the right thing when consumers start punishing them for doing the wrong.

      • I also agree with the reader who put that his insurance company penalized him. I tried to get FIOS, was told that a credit report was not able to be run because of a freeze and my only option was to pay $125 deposit (which is returned after 6 months of on-time payments). The fact that in order to GET the lower cost internet-only connection is to sign up for autopay, not sure how I could be late.

        Many companies won’t let you access services if you have a freeze on your accounts.

        • FIOS, like cable Internet and cable TV, is considered a utility, and most utilities require some kind of credit check. Doesn’t mean it’s incompatible with a freeze. It just means you have to think ahead and thaw the freeze before you have them run a check.

        • You keep your payment accounts open and in good standing. Those without financial skills do not do so. Autopay only works so long as the credit/debit account is still open and can be billed against, and credit score can be an indicator of past ability to keep those accounts open.

      • Thank you for the great article Brian. I have successfully frozen all 4 of my reports plus opted out of the insurance and credit mailings. People have some legitimate complaints but overall the new Federal law provides consumers with more control than they had before.

      • I ran into the car insurance gotcha with Allstate. Went to my local agent and she was like “What the heck?” She had not heard of it.

    • There is an exception for credit reports generated for insurance underwriting:

      (4) EXCEPTIONS.—A security freeze shall not apply to the making of a consumer report for use of the following:

      (H) Any person using the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance.

      This means that CRAs can provide reports for insurance underwriting purposes even if you have a security freeze. The only two reasons this would not occur properly would be if the insurer did not code the request properly (to inform the CRA that the inquiry is in connection with insurance underwriting), or if CRAs voluntarily decided to enforce freezes on such requests even without a legal requirement. If any insurers are not coding their requests properly, I’m sure they will fix that quickly, now that freezes are free and likely to be more popular. And since CRAs make money by selling reports, I doubt they will voluntarily decide to enforce freezes in excess of what the law requires.

      What may have happened in your case, besides a bad insurer, is that your state’s freeze law may not have included a similar exception for insurance underwriting. (Until today, security freezes were governed by state law in your state of residence.) The new federal law preempts state laws relating to security freezes (which is bad for consumers, in my opinion), so that will no longer be an issue.

    • Progressive Insurance checks every three years.

    • There appears to be an exemption specifically for insurance.

      (4) Exceptions
      A security freeze shall not apply to the making of a consumer report for use of the following:

      (H) Any person using the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance.

  4. Experian not working for both of us. Takes all the information and then says unable to freeze and asks to write a letter to them

  5. I wish someone could publish this information for Canada.

  6. It’s a good thing. I have spent more than I should have freezing and thawing my credit.

    The other cost is lenders who cannot or only as an exception to process, handle applicants with credit freezes. The same applies for “enhanced” security which relies on information from the credit report.

    Keep in mind also that the bureaus only have to offer for free, which they have already had to do for some citizens of some states. They are not obligated to expand capacity to freeze accounts. So don’t be surprised to see websites down, or all operators busy when trying to freeze.

    It still bugs me that the ID theft victim has so much to do when the lender has mistakenly loaned money to a fraudster. The onus should be on the lender to prove who they loaned money to. If proven a fraud has occurred the lender should be responsible for cleaning up the mess. The system suffers from lack of appropriate authentication.

    • “the onus should be on the lender…”

      and HOW, pray tell, are rich arseholes going to get even richer if we do THAT???

    • As a non-US reader I’m astounded that it’s practically a full-time job just running through all the different bureaus and agencies and places you need to deal with to do what consumer-protection legislation should be doing for you automatically. And then they all expire unless you regularly run the same gauntlet to do it all again. Wow.

      • Freezes are permanent (unlike Fraud alerts which thankfully will now last a year instead of just 90 days before expiring/needing to be renewed). The biggest problem is keeping track of how many new credit bureaus one has to freeze.

    • Are you ever right! “The system” still shafts the costumer!

  7. Thanks Brian, just knocked mine out in under 15 min

  8. Just being picky: “Previously, states could charge a confusing range of fees…” Or do you mean credit bureaus could charge…?

  9. You need to point out a few things:

    1. When you apply a credit freeze, some credit bureaus charge to remove them, even temporarily.
    2. When you apply a credit freeze you’re issued a PIN to unfreeze it. IF you don’t have that PIN say, 3 years later, you have to send in a copy of your driver’s license BY POSTAL MAIL to the credit bureau who then responds BY POSTAL MAIL back to you with a new PIN.

    Not as if they make it easy to “temporarily” unfreeze your accounts. You know, almost as if they WANT to make it as onerous as possible to not have you do it.

    • Sanjay, all of those points are made in the story. Except #1: There is no more fee for removing a freeze. Says so in the first sentence of the story.

      • @BrianK, you should tell that to the credit bureaus. I just went to remove a freeze, I was still asked for a fee.

        • I just followed the links Brian provided and successfully put freezes on the “big 3” websites. There were no fees. Took me about 10 minutes total. I used a password manager that helps byprefilling some of the commonly used data fields on webforms like this.

        • Sanjay, I’m not sure if fully comprehend the article. AS OF TODAY, due to a NEW law, there are no more fees for freezing or unfreezing your credit. Unless you were changed money TODAY to unfreeze your credit, then the situation has changed since you had your experience.

          Before today, it was completely legal in many (most?) states to change you a fee to unfreeze your credit.

  10. National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange is still broken.

    Fill in the form at

    https://www.exchangeservicecenter.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

    And it always ends up at this page

    https://www.exchangeservicecenter.com/Freeze/Freeze.htm

    which says

    We are currently unable to service your request.

    Please try again later.

    • worked for me

    • re: NCTUE
      Several months ago I attempted to place a freeze via the form on the website. Unable to accomplish this simple task I resorted to mailing the required information to the address indicated. After several weeks, waiting for verification, I called. They have NO RECORD of me in their system because my cell phone service provider doesn’t use their service. Therefore I can’t freeze an account that doesn’t exist.

  11. The permanent Opt-out process on https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ does not work for me. After selecting my state it tells me “Must use valid format.” As I selected the state from their list I don’t understand how it could have an invalid format.

  12. The bureaus are financially incented to make this as difficult and onerous as possible.

    Web site down, timing-out, overloaded (shrug) we are working on it as quickly as possible.

    There resources are directed to the front-end: serving credit reports to lenders/members as quickly as possible.

  13. THANKS! (yes, I shouted)

  14. I called the number for NCTUE 866-349-5355 and placed a freeze for NCTUE easily. Done 9/12/18

    What surprised me were the other options available for freeze at that same number. I believe 4 options in total. One other was for California Utilities, another for some function in NewYork and the last I didn’t commit to memory.

    I’ll need to look into these others. Perhaps this goes even deeper than the already deep and surprising places previously discussed.

    Jim

  15. Can existing creditors still pull reports on an account that is frozen?

    Is there a fixed penalty if a credit bureau allows a report to be pulled even though the account is frozen? Or must the consumer still show the actual dollar value of damages they incurred?

    If actual damages must be shown then I’m sure credit bureaus will find ways to release frozen reports.

    • All a freeze does is prevent access to credit reports for a *new* line of credit. This type of inquiry, or “hard pull” in common parlance, is an official record of a request for new credit and is recorded on the credit report for two years.

      If a freeze is in place, and a prospective creditor attempts to get the report for a *new* account, it will come back as FROZEN FILE: FILE FROZEN DUE TO STATE LEGISLATION.

      So called “soft pulls”, which many creditors do routinely to check up on their borrowers, are not blocked by a freeze, nor are soft pulls done for marketing reasons.

  16. Nice to have it finally. How long do you think would it take to unfreeze? Can bureau charge for expedite unfreeze? Bastards will find the way to monetize this thing. Also, I have feelings, very soon there will be freeze related scam calls / phishing e-mails. Like “Hey, we noticed suspicious activity on your frozen report, click link to verify your identity / provide your social” etc.

  17. The Experian website worked fine today. Equifax told me every one of my emails was not a valid email address, but at least their automated telephone system worked okay. Trans Union let me fill out their webpage only to tell me some kind of error occurred on their end. Their automated telephone system accepted my information only to give me over to a live operator with poor English. Finally did get it done.

    Thanks for providing the information.

  18. Careful on unfreezing. I recently had to unfreeze one account to get utility service started in a new location. The utility said i could just call and Equifax would give them a pin to access my account and i could give it to the utility. I called Equifax and the pin they gave me was the “super secret” pin I was to give no one because it could unlock my account at any time for any length of time. So, that would be stored in some database at the utility and we all know how well that turns out. So, i was able to unfreeze the account for 1 hour and call the utility back and said hurry up and check it. Worked out for the best. Word of caution here.

  19. I’m not sure if I want to give these crooks my email or phone, I don’t think that they currently have it. Thoughts?

    • CreditBureausAreScams

      bill, they not only already have it, they’ve been selling to data brokers. Have you searched your name online recently?

      • Last time I pulled a report, a couple of years ago, they didn’t show my email. Won’t exposing my email lead to some kind of hackery?

        • bill, you should have a throw-away email address (not identifying you obviously) to use for these types of purposes.

  20. Thanks for all of this useful informations!

    TransUnion and Experian were easy to freeze.
    Innovis was also easy and did not prompt me to create an account with them. Literally took seconds.

    I tried to freeze with Equifax online only to receive an “Additional Information Required” page, linking to instructions suggesting I do it over the phone. The automated phone system took all my details and eventually told me to – you guessed it – do it online, or call again later (very specific).

    NCTUE were unsurprisingly similar: online they said “We are currently unable to service your request. Please try again later.”, and over the phone something along the same lines.

    • I had the exact same results as you. Equifax and the systems the operate end in failure after entering all your personal information. All others worked reasonably well.

  21. good info to know thanks.

  22. CreditBureausAreScams

    Transunion is actively blocking people from placing a freeze!

    “We’re sorry, but due to a lack of activity, your account setup attempt has timed out. The safety of your information is our highest priority and for security reasons you will need to try again.”

    I tried SEVERAL times and each attempt, I was on the form maybe 30-40 seconds. I don’t need to double-check my data and I type quickly.

    A TIMEOUT to “protect” you? GIVE ME A BREAK!

    • Love your name! So true!

    • CreditBureausAreScams

      I was able to get around this, by first going to https://fraud.transunion.com and registering an account (I attempted to use my main credentials, that I use to place fraud alerts) — lo and behold, “We have a customer using this login already..” — yet their system tells me I haven’t logged in over a year? BS.. I place a fraud alert religiously every 90 days…

      I selected a new username and bam – I’m in, it shows me my *existing* fraud alert!

      I go to the Transunion link Brian provided, of course I have to login again… immediately taken to a giant freeze button. I select a PIN and done. My credit is now frozen at every major and small bureau, until yet another pops up.

      Brian, is it a waste of time to continue scheduling fraud alerts, now that credit is frozen at every bureau?

  23. This is a great resource! I’m a little dismayed that I also came across this article this morning on the Motley Fool: https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/09/22/why-freezing-your-credit-is-usually-a-bad-idea.aspx

    Ridiculous

    • Well, “Motley Fool” does have the word:

      F-O-O-L

      in it’s name.

      That should tell you something right there.

  24. The equifax site loads javascript from nexus.ensighten.com and from ci-mpsnare.iovation.com. The page will not work without that javascript. Note that that javascript could capture any information presentated or entered on the page. So, equifax is in essence sharing one’s information with those other sites. Any compromise of those sites effects the security of the equifax page/site. Utterly amazing how incompenent their security is.

    • CreditBureausAreScams

      John, You can circumvent this data theft by using a hosts file on your computer.

      ci-mpsnare.iovation.com is already blocked via Steven Black’s hosts file, which is a curated block list from multiple hosts: https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts (just make sure you download a new copy periodically, this is updated with new blocks frequently).

      A hosts file is not a replacement for an adblocker (like uBlock Origin for Waterfox or Firefox browsers), but rather, a companion. A hosts file works at the system level; which means: if you use a browser that *doesn’t* have an ad blocker (because sometimes these poorly made sites just won’t work without allowing a mountain of 3rd party junk) then the hosts file will protect you while using a vanilla browser that doesn’t have ad blocking protections.

      Also a good idea to disallow 3rd party cookies via your browser settings and set your browser to delete all content (cookies, cache, history, etc.) everytime you close the browser.

      Another good resource: https://www.privacytools.io

      • Thank you for the toughtful explanation of how to prevent it from running and other good practices to follow.
        I know that one can use various techniques for filtering out or disabling javascript.

        The page does not work for me without those pieces of javascript running.

        So, adding them to a host file would make the page non-functional. One potentially exposes oneself to identity theft (or other issues) by using that site to request a credit freeze.

        Pages that are asking for or are displaying sentitive data, should not have references to third party sites.

        • CreditBureausAreScams

          > So, adding them to a host file would make the page non-functional.

          I had Steven Black’s host file active on my computer when I froze my credit with the bureaus; which means any scripts coming from ci-mpsnare.iovation.com were unable to load on my machine. The hosts file literally prevents anything from a matched domain from being accessed; whether or not the site you’re browsing has their script embedded… the blocked site/script simply appears ‘broken,’ which you can see in action by viewing your browsers’ console log. The remainder of the site loads without issue.

          I did not block any javascript itself (during this browsing session).

          I experienced no issues on the any of the forms – with the exception of Transunion, but that was unrelated to the scripts. I was later able to complete my Transunion freeze by first re-registering and then hitting the freeze form.

          > Pages that are asking for or are displaying sentitive data, should not have references to third party sites.

          Due to website owners placing analytics and marketing tactics above user experience, this is literally 99.999% of the web now. You can fight it by preventing the tracking crap from loading with adblockers and up to date hosts files. Website owners do not have your best interests at heart.

          If you browse the web or any sites like the credit bureaus *without* hosts files and adblockers, you’re exposing a lot of information about yourself and browsing habits. Your data is the currency of the internet.

  25. Sadly, this is still not available for Canadians! Equifax needs to be slapped with a massive fine and I am surprised they are still in existence. The data breach was massive and we will be seeing the consequences of it for years to come, and yet…they can’t offer credit freezes to Canadians? What a joke.

    • You should contact your MPs rather than blather and whine about a credit bureau not doing something they probably don’t have to do under CANADIAN LAW.

      You do know there there is a LEGAL BORDER between the USA and Canada where the laws of one country stop and the laws of the other country begin.

  26. CreditBureausAreScams

    Brian,

    The link to ChexSystems in this post appears to have your session data affixed to the URL.

    When I snipped that part of the URL string and went to https://www.chexsystems.com/web/chexsystems/consumerdebit/page/securityfreeze/information/ the page still loaded as expected.

  27. I hope this isn’t standard for T-Mobile, but when I tried to open an account with them, I called them, and inquired what credit bureau they use because I would have to unfreeze my credit. I was told Trans Union. When subsequently at the store, I was told Experian. Fine. I was annoyed but unfroze Experian. After they checked Experian (I assume), then they told me they need to check all three bureaus. I proceeded to walk out the door.

  28. Brian,
    thanks very much for the information. I just placed a freeze on all 4 of the them in less than 30 minutes. Interestingly all but Innovis asked for information about previous loans or phone numbers to “verify” my identity. In all but one question the answer was none of the above. Innovis didn’t require a password or account set up. I assume they will have some more information in the letter they say they will send.

  29. Unfortunately, it looks like having a freeze in place with tis new federal law will not protect us from someone attempting to fraudulently rent an apartment or apply for a job in our name (and perhaps other situations.)

    This seems like a rather large loophole for other types of identity fraud.

    (4) Exceptions
    A security freeze shall not apply to the making of a consumer report for use of the following:

    (I) Any person using the information for employment, tenant, or background screening purposes.

  30. Innovis would not freeze without a phone number. I recently changed my phone number and have not given it to anyone but immediate family. I won’t give it to a data broker.

    Equifax said they couldn’t authenticate me and have to mail be a first-class letter with a PIN.

    The others worked without a hitch.

    Thanks, Brian!

    • Update: I received the verification code from Equifax. After logging in, the freeze page gave me only 2 options. One was to permanently remove a freeze and the other was to temporarily remove a freeze. There was no option to place the freeze. Since I never placed the freeze, I never got a PIN.

      Now I’ll have to call. I’m sure they will put my phone number into their database and probably sell it or leak it.

      These privacy invading monkeys need to be prosecuted for their crimes against us.