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Free credit freezes from Equifax

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UPDATE:  As of September 21, 2018, the law says credit freezes are free for everyone, and alerts now last one year (not 90 days).  Read more here.

Many people have had very sensitive personal information exposed in the Equifax breach — Social Security numbers, account numbers, even drivers’ license numbers. Equifax is offering free credit freezes until June 30, 2018. The company also will refund fees to anyone who already paid for freezes since September 7, 2017, when it announced the breach. If you’re thinking of placing a freeze, read this first.

A freeze means that no one (including you) can access your credit file until you unfreeze it, using a PIN or passphrase. That makes it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

To be effective, you must place a freeze with all three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Transunion and Experian. That’s because when a thief tries to take out new credit, a business can pull your credit report from any of the three agencies. If you’ve only frozen your Equifax file and the business checks with Experian or Transunion, your Equifax freeze does you no good.

There’s also cost to consider. A freeze can cost you money every time you freeze and unfreeze your file. While Equifax will let you place or lift a freeze for free until June 30, 2018, TransUnion and Experian are not offering free freezes. That means that any time you need to get new credit, you’ll need to lift the freeze, then place it again, with each of the three agencies — at a cost of $5 to $10 per agency each time, depending on your state’s law.

But wait, you say, I heard that freezes are free for identity theft victims. So, will I get free freezes from the other two agencies too? No. An identity theft victim is someone whose information not only has been exposed, but also has been misused. If you’re a data breach victim, your information is at greater risk of misuse but unless that happens, you’re not an identity theft victim and not entitled to free freezes on that basis.

To learn more about credit freezes, read Credit Freeze FAQs and Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes. If you want a free credit freeze from Equifax you can call them at 800-349-9960 or visit them online at freeze.equifax.com.

If you’re looking for an alternative to a credit freeze, consider a fraud alert. Although a fraud alert won’t lock your credit like a freeze does, it will tell anyone who runs your credit that they should check with you before opening a new account. Fraud alerts are free but they end after 90 days, unless you remember to renew them. You may also want to sign up for Equifax’s free credit monitoring, which lets you know about changes to your credit file. But remember that the free credit monitoring doesn’t stop someone from opening accounts in your name. Also, it lasts only one year and the threat of identity theft relating to the breach is likely to last a lot longer than that.

Note: This post was updated on October 5, 2017 to reflect that Equifax extended the enrollment period for free credit freezes from November 21, 2017 to January 31, 2018.

Note: This post was updated on February 1, 2018 to reflect that Equifax extended the enrollment period for free credit freezes from January 31, 2018 to June 30, 2018.

 

Comments

this is a good idea i had my info stolen years ago by an ex employee

Why would I even consider any help suggested by Equifax. I would be leery of even going on their website. It has been suggested the hackers will not use the info immediately, maybe yes maybe no, but a freeze just till Nov may not matter one way or the other. And trying to find out if your info was compromised there is no way to find out for sure, since they really have no idea how many accounts are in jeopardy. Funny thing, CEO says when he dumped his stock, he knew nothing about the cyber security breach. Yeah and I am really the Queen of England.

The credit freeze is FREE until november 21. It doesn't get lifted from your credit file on that day.

November is the "deadline" to sign up for 1 free year of Equifax monitoring.

Can't the thief that has your personal info request a credit freeze before you do and freeze you out of your own account and take over? So, it seems that we have no choice but to place a credit freeze before they pirate it.

It happened to my son

Fixing this serious data breach sounds ready-made for an effective Consumer Financial Protection Board!!
Do we have one still?

A related FTC article by your Seena Gressin states that the Equifax site "will tell you if you've been affected by the breach". This is incorrect. It only says that you may have been affected by the breach and then proceeds to offer you their credit monitoring scheme. So ... I still don't know if I definitely was affected by the breach and must assume the worst.

Equifax is so hard to deal with. Been disputing some unauthorized inquries on my CR with no luck. I think they should pay for all freezes feom all 3 CB's

That was my thinking also. Why should we have to spend a dime on anything pertaining to Equifax. All of the things I do to protect my Identity & Privacy. The time spent shredding & the money spent on anti-virus. All for nothing, because these nitwits came along, gathered not only my info but millions of others info, and what, got lazy with their security. No one should have to pay for nothing. From the rumors going around I heard it was something like using "Admin", which is a default password, and they never bothered changing it to their own password. I can't believe this has happened. Totally unacceptable.

The online or the call option to freeze your account is not working. Online gave an error and the phone said unable to process request. Now what?

Exactly. I was hoping that the FTC could offer a solution to this problem. I am NOT sending all my sensitive info by mail at this point, and I don't know what to do. I was able to place a security freeze with Experian and TransUnion easily (for $10 each) but have been trying for a WEEK with Equifax.

Is every person who applied for a credit card in the last 2 months effected by this breach? Is this something everyone who ever took out a loan, applied for a credit card...needs to worry about? Thanks for any insights.

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose was affected by the data breach at Equifax.

To find out if your information was exposed you can go to  Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.

  • Find out if your information was exposed.

I had the chance to see if my information was exposed. Do you really think after what happened I would go to WWW.EQUIFAXSECURITY2017.COM and give any info. After what happened??? I trust no one, has to be in person now. Family can be as bad or worst. My own parents tried to bribe me for $5,000 to cover up for them. I said NO, and they were exposed. Liars will do anything to avoid the truth. CEO of Equifaxsecurity- for shame-your job was to protect info. You can't even feel the heat and defend yourself. Mighty strange....I smell a Rat.

The breach was caused by lack of basic website security Unbelievable that such incompetency exists especially within this industry. The cavalier attitude they've always had is shocking. The long term damage to people is incalculable. Unlike some corrupt politicians & government officials, the responsible parties must be held accountable.

Government is not for protecting common man but it is certainly for big businesses because they contribute money for election campaigns. Now with this mega breach, half the population of the country is affected, what action has the Government taken so far? Why no action? Credit bureau is responsible for the security of our personal information and so they should take care of all costs related to this breach whether it is Equifax, Experian and Transunion. If they do not, Government should intervene and hold them responsible for all damages, if not, Government failed in their duty. Citizens should take direct action!

If Government is for common man, they should jump in now and help protect commons man's interest, if not what good is Government for?

We should have the absolute right to control who sees or doesn't see our credit file, since it is OUR information. We should be able to lock and unlock our credit file, within reason, say once every 48 hours or so. We never asked that credit files be kept on us, so why can't we control who looks at our information, without paying for the privilege?

All three credit reporting companies should be required to obtain the individuals permission in writing to collect and store personal data. Only the banks, your employer, Social Security Administration and the IRS should know an individuals social security number. What Equifax is offing is a joke, similar to their commitment to cyber security. Equifax should be required to reimburse every dime that it costs people as a result of the data breach, including lawyers fees.

LASTOPTION: Great idea!! I can not think of a problem with that solution...

THIS HAS GOT TO CHANGE !!!!!!!!!!!!
IRRESPONSIBLE COMPANIES.... THEY SHOULD BE FINED AND MADE TO PAY FOR ALL THE ID THEFT PROBLEMS FOR THE LIFE OF THE PERSON AFFECTED. AND SUPPLY ALERTS AND FREEZES FOR EVERYONE FOR FREE OR AT THE VERY LEAST A YEARLY FEE.

Seems the perfect time for the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) to step in on behalf of all consumers. Oh I forgot, the "buyer beware" politicians have cut this agency off at the legs!
Perfect!!!

Credit Freeze, Fraud Alerts & Credit Monitoring should be paid by Equifax for a lifetime to all three agencies!

I COMPLETED REQUEST TO FREEZE MY ACCOUNT. ERROR 500 APPEARED AND COULD NOT GO BACK TO PREVIOUS PAGE

I want to Remind our Government that we are not the customers of Equifax, because "WE Are their PRODUCT, and they Failed to PROTECT their PRODUCT.

Equifax should PROTECT their PRODUCT FOR LIFE.

Equifax's free credit freeze is of no use when, every day for two weeks, they have told me "our site is not available" to process my on-line request for a credit freeze and/or fraud alert. Very lame, to say the least !

The Government should make sure our loss is paid by all three agencies. Thanks, Slim

I am a senior. 82 years old. what am I supposed to do?

You could check to see if your information was exposed in the Equifax breach. To do that, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. That link takes you away from the FTC site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC. You might choose to enroll in one year of free credit monitoring that Equifax offers.

You could check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. If you see accounts or activity that you don’t recognize, they could be a sign of identity theft. If you see signs, visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.

You could place a credit freeze on your credit reports at Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. You need to contact each of the three nationwise credit reporting agencies individually to place a freeze. You might have to pay a fee to place and lift a freeze. That depends on state law.

This page has tips for Equifax breach victims. Scroll down the page and click on the word Equifax.

I would like a credit freeze. You have Direct-tv for $509.00 which was paid and show as negative on my FICO score. Equifax shows low scores which are incorrect and all other scores are higher. How are you determining my score?

They want to charge us to freeze our information because then they can’t profit from it when it’s frozen! I say we file a class action suit demanding that they owe us a percentage of every dollar of profit they made by using our private information without our permission?

This is total nonsense. First of all, whose fault is this breach? Why should I as a customer bear the brunt? Where is the Consumer Credit protection from the federal government? Equifax is at fault. They are liable to pay each and everyone of the 143+million people whose accounts were left for grabs. For their fault we have to pay? I think the FTC must answer some questions to the public instead of pontificating. The tweeting fellow in the white house should if he has any guts should immediately send an executive order asking the Equifax to protect the consumers. Later talk about penalties.

A wise sage once noted "Personal privacy? You have none, so just get over it! The genie is out of the bottle, and never can be returned to it."

As an innocent consumer, none of these "solutions" are helpful in the long run. This will haunt me for the rest of my life. How can Equifax be allowed to get off with only offering partial protection for 1 year? They were careless with my private data, so criminals now have my social security number, etc. Why not make Equifax pay for the Freeze at each Credit Bureau? Why am I penalized for their lack of security? I've already spent hours trying to get each of my family members signed up with Equifax's "1 year protection" online & then had technical problems & had to speak with their Rep who clearly didn't care about how this is affecting all of us! She wouldn't answer my questions & instead referred me back to this FTC site. Why doesn't the government create a website that gives the control of our private info back to us, instead of these credit bureaus? I should be able to freeze & unfreeze my social security #s as needed.

"freeze with all three credit reporting agencies"
What about the other two? I just learned there are Innovis and PRBC. Should we have it frozen there, too?

I read that Innovis is not connected to the 3 credit bureaus. They are collectors and sellers of information. They have a form for freeze request, but it ask for name and SS number, which I am afraid to supply. They are not used as a credit reference at all. They should not be selling our information.

what fax is absolutely out of their minds they offer a cheap fix trying to pacify customers that are not willing to go the extra yard falling FTC complaints and pushing forward with a class action suit we have all been affected by the negligence of Equifax and they have the nerve to offer a time-sensitive Band-Aid to treat an uncontrolled hemorrhage of personal data I really hope this Trump controlled government will somehow Holby executives that made a windfall of cash selling their stock before the public was notified people talk about dope fiends and addicts Corporate America truly are the dope fiends in our society nothing but holding Executives accountable buy actual criminal prosecution will restore any confidence credit reporting agencies should send any Prophets to those who's private information they used to make money please excuse the typos I'm using voice text because I am too sick to talk this outI will be bombarding my senators Representatives and what is left of our consumer protection board encourage anyone reading this to do the work to do the sameplease do not buy in to know why that is to the LIE that your input does not matteryou I we have to power 2/4 chain that is to force change

FTC - you need to also let everyone know that once we place a credit freeze on our accounts we can no longer log into our SSA account nor can we create one online. To create a SSA account you must go to your local SSA office with a valid picture ID to set up a SSA account.

Thank you for the comment; we'll look into this.

We checked with Social Security about this.

If you create an online my Social Security account first, and later place a credit freeze, you will still be able to get access to your online my Social Security account.

BUT, if you place a credit freeze first, and then want to create an online my Social Security account, you'll have to lift the freeze temporarily. Or, if you don't want to lift the freeze temporarily, you could go to a local Social Security office in person.

Not exactly correct. I set up security freezes on all three reporting agencies last week.

I signed into my SSA account today. I haven't logged in since 2013. Apparently, a new two step authorization procedure is in place. I had to request a number code be sent to me via text or email. After entering the code, I was directed to a page that requested I update my password. After entering a new password, I entered my account. Piece of cake. Perhaps your phone number, or email address, are not current on your SSA account.

We checked with Social Security about this.

If you create an online my Social Security account first, and later place a credit freeze, you will still be able to get access to your online my Social Security account.

BUT, if you place a credit freeze first, and then want to create an online my Social Security account, you'll have to lift the freeze temporarily. Or, if you don't want to lift the freeze temporarily, you could go to a local Social Security office in person.

I'm afraid my identity was used to try to get a loan with my information prior to finding out about the fiasco from Equifax. I also had one of my credit cards used within a day or two of the loan application. Coincidence? I don't think so.

I SAY LETS GO BACK TO THE OLD WAY! WHEN ANY COMPANY WANTED INFORMATION ON A CONSUMER THEY HAD TO FILL OUT A WRITTEN FORM; VOE-VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT, VOM-VERIFICATION OF MORTGAGE, etc. I ALSO WANT THE CONSUMER FTC TO 1)MAKE IT AN OPTION FOR CONSUMERS TO OPT OUT OF THE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES ALTOGETHER! 2) MAKE EQUIFAX RESPONSIBLE FOR REIMBURSING ALL CONSUMER(S) RELATED EXPENSES IN FIGHTING THE LOSS OF THEIR PERSONAL/CREDIT INFORMATION. 3)MAKE A CREDIT FREEZE JUST WHAT IT SAYS, AND THAT SHOULD BE FREE ALSO AT ALL/ANY CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY. 4)EQUIFAX SHOULD BE SUED AND THE PROCEEDS SPREAD TO THOSE AFFECTED. FINING THEM ONLY GIVES MONEY TO AGENCIES NOT THE AFFECTED INDIVIDUALS WHO NOW HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS THE REST OF THEIR LIVES! THIS IS REALLY A DIRTY ROTTEN SHAME ON YOU EQUIFAX AND YOU SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE!

Why should I have to pay anything or spend my valuable time when it is some other entity's malfeasance that caused this.
The financial model here needs to be changed.
Credit report access and freezes need to be provided to the individual consumer at no charge to them.
Credit checks for the purposes of obtaining credit, fraud alerts, etc., should be the sole source of revenue.

How do we find out EXACTLY what information of ours was stolen? The notice says, "some" driver's licenses, "some" dates of birth, "some" credit cards. I want to know exactly what types of personal info about me has been stolen. Where do I find that out?

Comments here WILL NOT CHANGE A THING. Contact all the powers-that-be at all three credit services and in government, to correct and protect all consumers IMMEDIATELY at NO COST TO COSUMERS!!

I am notified that I am a victim of the hack at Equifax.
I was told to enroll to set up an account of TrustedID Premier, and I did it on September 14, 2017 but Equifax has been so busy to let me finalize my account.

I am very nervous that someone may try to use my information to open accounts. I am not happy that the consumers are not protected.

I would like the government to involve into handling this matter to prevent the same situation in the near future.

Thank you.Ct

this is a nightmare for the older generation

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