Setting up an Experian credit freeze is easy and highly recommended. Freezing your credit prevents identity thieves from fraudulently opening new credit cards, establishing lines of credit, and getting loans in your name. All of these activities can result in you unknowingly being held liable for these transactions. Security breaches, hacks, and phishing campaigns against companies that collect and store your sensitive financial and personal information are increasing. Freezing your credit is one very smart way you can protect yourself today and tomorrow. An Experian credit freeze might sound difficult or scary but it really isn’t. We have created this guide to help you navigate the process from beginning to end.
Should I Set Up an Experian Credit Freeze?
Probably. Unless you are in the process of, or about to, buy a car, a house, or apply for a loan or credit card, then you should set up an Experian credit freeze. There have been many high-profile breaches of financial companies, government agencies, and retailers that have likely exposed or leaked your private information to attackers. An Experian credit freeze will help limit your liability and eliminate the frustration and hassle of having your life and credit score wrecked.
Where to Go
Experian has made it easy to place a security freeze on your credit by giving you more than one way to place, temporarily lift, or remove a credit freeze.
- Online: https://www.experian.com/freeze
- By phone: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)
You can use the automated phone prompts to manage your credit freeze. It’s slightly more annoying than talking to an actual person, but due to the sheer volume of requests that they receive the automated system is probably the most efficient.
When you call to set up your Experian credit freeze you will receive a unique PIN at the end. You need to keep this PIN safe and secure. When you want to unfreeze your credit you will need to provide the PIN to validate your identity. We recommend writing the PIN down and keeping it somewhere secure like a safe or safety deposit box. DO NOT store the PIN in your email or in an unsafe cloud-based storage provider. If the PIN is compromised, it could be used to make changes to your Experian credit freeze without your authorization.
Will it Affect My Credit Score?
One common question people ask about an Experian credit freeze is, “Will it affect my credit score?” The great news is, NO! Freezing your credit will not affect your credit score. You can also request your free annual credit report from each of the credit bureaus without lifting the freeze on your credit. In fact, freezing your credit can protect your credit score by preventing unauthorized activities.
Is it Free?
Unfortunately No. Freezing your credit is not free. However, it is very cheap to do. Each state regulates the cost of freezing and unfreezing your credit by law. Most states are $10 or less to freeze and unfreeze your credit at each of the bureaus. While this is annoying, it is a small price to pay for the peace of mind in knowing you have taken a major step in protecting your financial future.
Can I Remove My Experian Credit Freeze?
Absolutely! Your Experian credit freeze can be either temporarily or permanently lifted at any time. Most of the bureaus allow you to temporarily lift or remove your credit freeze online or by phone. Here are some life events that may require you to temporarily lift your Experian credit freeze.
- Getting a new job
- Opening a new credit account
- Renting an apartment
- Buying a house
What Else Should I Do?
You will need to contact each of the three credit bureaus to place a security freeze on your credit. There is no “easy button” for this task, unfortunately.