In a NutshellTo help prevent fraudsters from opening new financial accounts in your name, you can freeze or lock your credit reports. Whether you choose to freeze or lock, you’ll need to make sure to do it at all three major consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to cover your bases.
Freezing or locking your credit helps keep criminals from opening fraudulent credit accounts in your name.
Here’s how to freeze or lock your credit with each of the three major consumer credit bureaus.
How to lock your credit report at TransUnion
TransUnion’s free credit lock program is called TrueIdentity. Like with Equifax, you can lock and unlock your credit quickly on a smartphone or computer. The program also gives you access to your TransUnion® credit report, free monitoring alerts and up to $25,000 in identity theft insurance. You can sign up for the free TrueIdentity program on TransUnion’s website.
In addition, TransUnion has a premium product, called Credit Lock Plus, that allows you to lock your credit reports with both TransUnion and Equifax. It costs $19.95 a month.
How to freeze your credit report at TransUnion
TransUnion also allows you to place a credit freeze online. You can also add a freeze via the automated phone system (or opt to speak to a live agent) by calling 1-888-909-8872.
How to freeze your credit report at Equifax
To put a freeze on your Equifax report, you can visit their website, or use their automated phone line: 1-800-685-1111.
If you’d rather talk to a human, reach out via their customer care number: 1-888-298-0045.
How to lock your credit report at Equifax
Equifax’s free credit lock program is called Lock & Alert. You can enroll on the Equifax website, and then lock or unlock your report anytime from the website or app — without additional help from Equifax.
Credit Karma members can now check their Equifax Credit Lock status on the Credit Karma platform under Credit Protection.
We suggest that you freeze with Experian rather than lock because you may pay a fee for their credit lock service.
How to freeze your credit report at Experian
To freeze your credit at Experian, you can visit their online Freeze Center, or call 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742).
How to lock your credit report at Experian
Experian’s program, CreditLock, is offered as part of a larger service, Experian CreditWorks Premium. The program comes with other perks, like credit monitoring for all three bureaus, monthly FICO® credit scores and reports for all three bureaus, up to $1 million in identity theft insurance, and a dedicated agent to help you if you think you’re a victim of fraud or identity theft. You can enroll on Experian’s website.
Things to keep in mind when locking or freezing your credit reports
- When you’re setting up a lock or freeze, you’ll need to provide your name, address, birth date and Social Security number.
- If you’re freezing your credit, you’ll be asked a few questions to verify your identity. (You’ll also get a PIN.)
- Freezing and unfreezing a report could require more effort (like that PIN number) than locking — especially if you choose to freeze over the phone. At TransUnion and Equifax, you don’t need to provide a PIN if you’re using their online tools to freeze or unfreeze.
- If you want to apply for new credit, or a new employer or landlord needs to run your credit, you’ll need to unlock or unfreeze your reports.
- Credit locks and freezes help protect you from identity theft by preventing new creditors from accessing your credit reports — as long as the freeze or lock is in place at all three bureaus.
- Neither a freeze nor a lock will protect you in situations where criminals already have access to your accounts (like if your bank login credentials were stolen via hacking).
- You can still check your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports on Credit Karma — even when they’re locked.