Setting up an Equifax security freeze is highly recommended due to the recent Equifax security breach. 143 million Americans had their personal information leaked when attackers compromised a vulnerable web-application. Equifax took six weeks to notify the public about the breach after it happened. As an adult in the United States, there is a very good chance that you have been affected. You can check to see if you were affected by entering your information at this website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
An Equifax security freeze, also known as a credit freeze, is a formal process where you can lock the ability to add new credit accounts like credit cards, loans, and accounts to your credit. The terms security freeze and credit freeze are synonymous and are used interchangeably from one credit bureau to another.
Should I Set Up an Equifax Security Freeze?
Absolutely! 143 million Americans were exposed in the 2017 Equifax breach. You should set up an Equifax security freeze immediately. Taking the time now to quickly prevent future fraud against your finances is well worth it. In addition to the security breach at Equifax, there have been many high-profile breaches of financial companies, government agencies, and retailers. These breaches have likely exposed or leaked your private information to attackers. An Equifax security freeze will help limit your liability and eliminate the frustration and hassle of having your life and credit score wrecked.
Where to Go
Equifax has two options for freezing and unfreezing your credit. They prefer that people use the online site to set up an Equifax security freeze.
- Online: https://www.freeze.equifax.com
- By Phone: 1-800-349-9960
When you call to set up your Equifax security freeze you will receive a unique PIN at the end. You will be prompted to download a unique PDF that contains the PIN. 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 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 Equifax security 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.
Equifax has waived the fee for freezing your credit due to the security breach of their systems. So for right now, as of this writing, there are no charges to freeze your credit with Equifax. We did it online using the Equifax website and it took about 5 minutes start to finish to complete.
Can I Remove My Experian Security Freeze?
Absolutely! Your Equifax security 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 Equifax security 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.