The are more than 8 million new victims of identity theft each year in the U.S.  Many of these victims find that crooks have used stolen personal information like Social Security numbers to open new accounts in their victim’s name. A security freeze gives consumers the choice to “freeze” or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name.

When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file. When the consumer is applying for credit, he or she can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed.

Since November 1, 2007, the security freeze has been offered voluntarily by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to all U.S. consumers. Such voluntary freezes available to all consumers, even if state law explicitly offers security freezes only to identity theft victims (e.g., Mississippi).

For more information, see: Frequently Asked Questions about the security freeze. To help you decide if getting a security freeze is right for you, click here.

Placing a Security Freeze

In order to effectively freeze access to your credit files, you must request a security freeze to be placed at each of the three major credit bureaus.

You can place a security freeze in any one of three ways:

  1. Phone: Call each of the credit bureaus at the number provided below:
    • Transunion: 1-888-909-8872
    • Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 (NY residents: 1-800-349-9960)
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  2. Mail: Download and complete our Security Freeze Request by Mail Templates, and send one to each credit bureau at the address provided.
    • Note: Credit bureau addresses may be subject to change; check the credit bureau’s website for the latest address to ensure your request is received and processed quickly.
  3. Online: On each credit bureau’s website (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian), you can find an online form to place your security freeze security freeze.

PLEASE NOTE: Consumers Union has provided the above information as general guidelines on how to place the security freeze in your state. However, we strongly recommend that you also check with the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) to ensure you are submitting the proper documents when placing and using the security freeze.

State Security Freeze Laws

“Protected Consumer” Groups

31 states have additional “Protected Consumer” groups, who can obtain a security freeze at reduced cost, or completely free.  Look up your state below to see if these additional protections apply.

If placing a security freeze on the behalf of a minor, or an incapacitated consumer, the parent or guardian must provide additional documentation as follows:

  1. Documents indicating that the requestor has Proof of Authority of the named individual, such as:
    • Court Order
    • Power of Attorney (not applicable in NY, TX or UT)
    • Written, Notarized and Signed Description of Authority (not applicable in VA residents);
      -AND-
  2. One of the following identification documents for both the named individual and the parent/representative
    • Proof of social security number (not required in IL)
    • Proof of name and address (Driver’s License / ID Card) (Not required in GA)
    • A copy of a bill that shows a name and home address (required in DE, LA, MD, and VA)
    • Copy of Birth Certificate (for minors) (not required in IL)

Allowable Fees for Security Freezes:

Each state has passed security freeze legislation setting the amount which a credit bureau is allowed to charge consumers for placing, temporarily lifting, or removing a credit freeze. The fee amount allowed by law varies in each state.

If you are a member of a “Protected Consumer” group within your state, you may qualify for a reduced fee. Check your individual state’s fees below to see if you are a member of a qualifying group, and make sure you indicate to the credit bureau that you are a protected consumer under applicable state law when you make your security freeze request.

  Allowed Fee
  Start Lift Remove
 Alabama ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $10.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
  Start Lift Remove
 Alaska ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $2.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Arizona   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age  Free  N/A  Free
Consumer who is incapacitated, or for whom a court or other authority has appointed a guardian or conservator Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Arkansas   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $5.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
California   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $5.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Colorado   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers Free $10.00 $10.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Connecticut   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Spouse of ID Theft Victim Free Free Free
Consumer on ID Theft Victim’s health insurance policy Free Free Free
Consumers under 18 years of age Free Free Free
Victims of Domestic Violence Free Free Free
Consumers 62+ years of age Free Free Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Delaware   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 Free Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age $5.00 Free Free
Consumer under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
District of Columbia   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 Free Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Florida   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $10.00 Free
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Georgia   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $3.00 $3.00 $3.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $3.00 Free
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Guam Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Hawaii   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Idaho   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $6.00 $6.00 $6.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Illinois   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $10.00 Free
Active duty military member Free Free Free
Consumers under 18 years of age $10.00 N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Indiana   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers Free Free Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Kansas   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Kentucky (Note: security freeze expires seven years after initial placement) Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00

 

    Allowed Fee
Louisiana   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $8.00 Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 62+ years of age Free Free Free
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Maine   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers Free Free Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumer who receives a notice of a security breach & provides a copy of notice Free N/A Free
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Maryland   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Massachusetts   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Spouse of ID Theft Victim Free Free Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Michigan   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Minnesota   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Mississippi   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Montana   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $3.00 $3.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Nebraska   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $3.00 $3.00 $3.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 19 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Nevada   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free Free Free

 

Allowed Fee
New Hampshire   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00

 

  Allowed Fee
New Jersey   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers Free $5.00 $5.00

 

  Allowed Fee
New Mexico   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 Free $5.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free Free Free

 

  Allowed Fee
New York   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers Free $5.00 $5.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Victims of Domestic Violence Free Free Free

 

  Allowed Fee
North Carolina   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers Free Free Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Spouse of ID Theft Victim Free Free Free
Consumers 62+ years of age Free Free Free
Consumers under 16 years of age $5.00 N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
North Dakota   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 Free

 

    Allowed Fee
Ohio   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Oklahoma   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers:”
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $10.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Oregon   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 15 years of age $10.00 N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Pennsylvania (Note: security freeze expires seven years after initial placement) Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free $10.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Puerto Rico   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Rhode Island   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free Free Free

 

  Allowed Fee
South Carolina   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers Free Free Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

Allowed Fee
South Dakota (Note: security freeze expires seven years after initial placement) Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Tennessee   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $7.50 Free $5.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Texas   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Utah   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Vermont   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 Free Free

 

Allowed Fee
Virgin Islands Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Virginia   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 Free Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

  Allowed Fee
Washington   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
State “Protected Consumers”:
Consumers 65+ years of age Free Free Free

 

  Allowed Fee
West Virginia   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $5.00 $5.00 $5.00

 

  Allowed Fee
Wisconsin   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 Free Free
State “Protected Consumers”:
Medically incapacitated and not an ID theft victim $10.00 N/A Free
Consumers under 16 years of age Free N/A Free

 

Allowed Fee
Wyoming   Start Lift Remove
ID theft victims Free Free Free
All other consumers $10.00 $10.00 $10.00

 


More Resources:

  • Identity Theft Resource Center: Full resource kit to help prevent id theft and assist victims.

Identity Theft Resource Center
P.O. Box 26833
San Diego, CA 92196
Telephone: 858-693-7935
Web: http://www.idtheftcenter.org/

  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Hotline for consumers to report privacy abuses and request information on ways to protect their privacy.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
3100 – 5th Ave., Suite B
San Diego, CA 92103
Telephone: (619) 298-3396
Web: http://www.privacyrights.org