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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

We deserve better. We are held hostage by all three credit bureaus. They control our everyday lives and a mistake can really cost you. It should not cost anybody ever to freeze or unfreeze an account. I expect Congress to do more to protect US.

You can't count on Congress to do anything right. They can't even pass a Healthcare Bill, so I guess we will have socialized government healthcare rammed down our throats. I can only imagine how that will turn out.

Tried to freeze my credit with Equifax because my data "may have been" exposed as part of the data breach. Equifax does not answer the phone, and their website goes nowhere when attempting a security freeze. Why do the agencies who collect my private info without my consent have no accountability when they behave irresponsibly? Somehow I don't believe I would be afforded the same leniency if I chose, irresponsibly, not to pay a consumer debt. FTC-Please provide oversight into Equifax's lack of response to consumers. Congress--please enact laws to protect our privacy. (I will be in contact with my representatives.) Help us!

Don't expect any help from the current administration, They only care about you if you donate $100,000 for their re-election. They are probably the ones who stole the credit information and SS#s.

The freeze/monitoring is only of limited effectiveness. Each of the credit bureaus's themselves still have access to your data - they have to store and back it up for example. and the US Govt. can certainly pry into it without your permission. And the processes they run can be corrupted - just like Equifax's process. I'm dismayed and frustrated that the individual has so little control over your accounts. It is my life and livelyhood after all.

I should not be here. Looks like my wife is a victim of the breach. Three of her credit card accounts have had the email address and an authorized user added to the last couple of days, by someone not authorized. A new card was also shipped to that new address.

The hackers are the credit company's who sell your information in the first place. The don't update your information or delete in 7 or 10 years. And last computer were suppose too make things better that has not happen only advanced greed.

So I understand my data was stolen therefore the fact it was taken is not considered misuse? What happened to vilolating safekeeping of my sensitive data? Is exposing my data to risk not considered misuse of my data? Who gave Equifax my info without my consent to use it? Now they want me to pay them to protect me? Do I have a right to tell Equifax to delete all my data?

EQUIFAX and other breached Corporations in the past say 15 years, should fund a Congress approved initiative that allows for seamless replacement of an individual's Social Security Number. Implementing such a system isn't necessarily a technical challenge. It would require the political will to do so first!

Nice to see the Federal Government doing next to nothing while a private firm reaps profits by selling what the Federal Government insists isn't the key to my identity - my SSN. The Feds won't change my SSN so now I pay "protection" money for the rest of my life to not one but three or more private companies in the vain hope my identify isn't stolen, my bank accounts drained, etc. Of course, if that happens and I steal a loaf of bread, I go to jail.

I'll believe the Federal Government cares when they send me a copy of the full name, current address, and SSN of all 538 Members of Congress to do with what I please.

Every Executive within Equifax should have their monetary assets placed in a frozen state. That is, they may not be allowed to profit from the money they possess until those whose identity had been stolen was revealed, re-established and rectified, with consideration given to the money that the victim's monetary interest that would simlarly have been gained be taken into account.

credit freeze

I heard Equifax had the software patch long ago but for some reason never installed it.

In the event our information is stolen and used, Equifax should be REQUIRED to fix it and pay all costs associated with the problem.

No more talk about credit freezes, no more talk about credit report review. The federal government should act swiftly to eliminate the risk behind address and SSN theft and Chop identity theft off at the knees.

My money is attached to a number I can't change. There are laws that are on the books that must be expanded to insure that number is worthless to third parties wanting to access money they are not authorized to. At 137 million affected, that number must IMMEDIATELY be considered compromised and worthless as an authentication factor.

sorry, too much computer speak. Here is the bottom line: Every bank treats a person's SSN as if it was a secret number that only the person the SSN applies to knows.

WAKE UP BANKS, that number is no longer a secret for 137 million people, stop using it as if it's a super secret pass code!

This is such bad advice of an article. It leaves out REALLY important information:
* Equifax charges every time you want to unfreeze your credit report when you want to apply for credit.

THEY lost our information and NOW they have 134million customers who they are telling people we'll give you a free service which we will charge you for every time you want to unlock it. They should COMPLETELY waive the unlocking of any credit report THEN it would be worthwhile.

What about Innovis?

consumers better change their names to prevent the privacy.

The Credit Freeze numbers for Equafax are worthless, their system does not work.

I want to opt out!! Equifax, Transunion and Experian does not have my permission to keep surveillance files or any data regarding my name, on my behalf.

FTC says I can freeze my credit, but the "automated system" the number they give does not let you complete the transation.Can't get help from Equafax, can't get help from FTC.

I remember my original Social Security card stated right on it,"NOT TO BE USED FOR IDENTIFICATION" wow, a lot of "progress" has been made over the last 45 years!

These credit reporting agencies have been allowed a free pass for far too long.They routinely and arbitrarily screw with peoples lives and enjoy almost blanket immunity from any type of recourse.It must feel nice to sit on a throne and play God with peoples lives and have everyone afected being required to go begging with hat in hand to have corrections made to fix in-house mistakes or misinformation.Possessing the integrity of a Washington politician and just as willing to REALLY help.Now,John Q Public is supposed to help finance this self created mess by paying another "fee" to help make it right,while those responsible have taken the money and run,as USUAL which has become the new "American Way".Doubtless there will be another vaunted "investigation" which ends up going nowhere and accomplishing NOTHING of any real substance!

There are millions of technology gurus out there. I am sure there are many good people among them. In the name of God, please come up with ways to protect "We the People"!... but do not sell your ideas to the bad guys. Give them away for free thru internet.

Do you, Mr. W. Bates, or Mr. and Mrs. Gates, etc. have to worry about this breach? If not, how do you keep your information private? And can that method be adopted for the rest of us?

I think the only way that we will feel safe is to eliminate our SS# and frankly it was never meant for this type business. I would like to see that our legislators make this a priority to change our SS# system so that half of the nation is not fore ever at risk. This is not really fair to us law abiding citizens and Equifax needs to be penalized and even put into jail for what they have done (or not done in this case).

All this means nothing ! They have our info to allow time to elapse and come back latere anytime in the future !

I plan to cancel all my credit cards; stop buying anything online; and deal only with cash, a debit card and/or checks. If half of the citizens of the United States protested in the same way, I bet business, industry and politicians would decide that they should require all credit ratings to be frozen all the time and anyone who wants your credit information would have to pay to unfreeze the system. It is time for the peaceful revolution of all Americans to cancel and stop using their credit cards! Some of us are old enough to remember an economy without credit cards. It wasn't so bad. You can fix this outrageous abuse of the consumer with your own hand - don't wait for government or business to care. This is turning America First into Me First.

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” Thomas Jefferson

To protect ourselves from fraud, theft and economic disaster caused by the Equifax breach, our choice is to pay Equifax, Experian, and Transunion each time we freeze and each time we unfreeze our credit reports. A $5 to $10 fee is charged by each company each time a freeze is applied and each time it is removed. (Equifax will give you a free freeze until Nov. 21, 2017-wow!) And all three companies need to do the freeze or there is not enough protection.

Neither the legislative, executive nor judiciary branches of our government are paying any attention to this attack on half the U.S. population – a possible economic death of 148 million citizens!

I know how to get the attention of business and government and how to protect your privacy and resources at the same time. Cancel all your credit cards! Let’s start an economic revolution! Let’s stick it to the thieves! Let’s remind business who the customers are. Let’s awaken our politicians. Let’s quit buying things online! I know this is drastic but the crime is egregious. The everyday consumers are victims fighting a war against evil with no help.

So, we must fight back with what we have. We eat out and pay cash. We buy locally and pay cash. We rent cars with debit cards. We ride in the front of the bus and pay the fare in cash. We destroy the credit card companies, the credit rating companies, and we stop the dirty, thieving pigs who hack databases. Power to the people! Cancel your credit cards today! Rise up and fight for America!

Read the entire agreement from the agencies for freezing your credit report. You can not go after them for damages from that point onward. Equifax also had a false directing website when it originally reported the breach.No matter if you freeze your report the hackers already have all your information and can play havack 3,4,5 or more years from now. FTC should disconnect all ties with credit reporting agencies. You should get a new SSN immediately with no ties to your old number.

Both the phone system and web for Equifax is not available at this time. Try later what a joke. they should pay for the other company freezes.

So tanks for all!pleace help me allways

How about they stop carrying any information about me. The other two do the same.

How many companies that don't do anything but collect and sale my information must I support?

Retired, paid-off, paid-up, fed-up.

Why should anyone impacted by the incompetence at Equifax have to pay to have a credit freeze lifted and reinstated when the error was caused by the company charging the freeze fee.For those impacted, the freeze should be fee free for life.

FTC - It is IMPOSSIBLE to use the equifax freeze website. They make ZERO effort to help the consumer, even now!!! Why doesnt the government DO SOMETHING??? The credit agencies DO NOT CARE about the consumer, PLEASE DO SOMETHING!!! I want o freeze my credit but cant!!!

I just tried to freeze Equifax online. Received a "we're sorry" message wanting me to send ID info via USPS to a PO box. All of the ID info they wanted was filled in on the initial request page with the exception of my date of birth. I get it, Equifax is swamped, but wouldn't doing requests online be quicker and more efficient? They are just buying time!

Mr Rocket man Envy and his Russian buddies were probibley the ones who hacked Eqiafax. Good luck getting the fox to put the chicken eggs back in the hen house.

I see a class action lawsuit in the near future.

The solution - contact EQUIFAXSECURITY to check on my Status??? After what happened. Not giving my info out to get it taken again. Instead----will contact my representatives to COMPLAIN.

1st- under which law are these 3 private companies allowed to collect info on us? 2nd- who/when the federal government agreed/authorized the collection of info on us? 3rd Equifax should pay for the credit protection of all!! 4th-I agree, everyone should receive new SS#s immediately !! 5th-these 3 companies should be dismantled/eliminated!!

My personal information that can be used to damage my credit is now avaiable to people that can damage my credit and many others, forever! My information was entrusted to Equifax and they failed to protect the consumer. It is shocking that Equifax did not have adequate systems to protect our information. Equifax needs to be held accountable, their reparations are an insult. The CEO should be fired and the company needs a complete security overhaul. The consumers whose information was compromised need protection for years, not months.

So I have a couple questions....
A. I am on disability and have been extreamely pro active with my credit. So I am to pay for this credit freeze. I live on $900 a month and do not have the funds, so whats my options?
B. How do we know for sure 100% I am breeched?
C. If I am truely breeched how is this going to affect my credit now and in the future since I am not able to apply for credit cards or bank loan to try and counter this?

If you want to place a credit freeze, Equifax is offering a free credit freeze until November 21, 2017. You might have to pay for a freeze at the other credit reporting companies. The cost depends on state law. In some states, people age 65 and older don't have to pay.

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

Click here to read more about what to do if your information was breached. Scroll down on the page and click on the word Equifax.

Here is a simple question: When I put a freeze on my credit am I still able to use my existing credit cards?

If you put a freeze on your credit report, you aren't freezing your ability to use credit cards you have now.

Your credit report has includes information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. If you put a freeze on your credit report, a new business or employer or landlord can't look at your credit report until you lift the freeze. That makes it hard for an identity thief to pretend to be you, and open a new account by using your name.

Please Freeze my account.

This blog is from the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission can't freeze your credit file.

To freeze your credit file, contact a credit reporting agency. If you freeze your credit file, no one can open new credit in your name. You can't open new credit either, until you contact the credit reporting agency and ask them to lift the freeze. You pay a fee to put a freeze on, and to lift it. Your state law sets the fee.

There are three nationwide credit reporting agencies:

  1. Equifax is giving free credit freezes until November 21, 2017. After that, you have to pay, if your state law says so. Call Equifax at 800-349-9960 or go to freeze.equifax.com.
  2. Experian.  1‑888‑397‑3742
  3. TransUnion.  1-888-909-8872

In order to place a freeze, you must place your full SSN on an unsecured website page---no wonder they were breached!

To freeze your credit, Equifax requests your full SSN on an unsecured website page---seems to explain why they were breached in the first place. Phone call also asks for complete SSN in an automated system---also easy to breach, I would suspect.
Any suggestions on how to freeze in a secure manner?

Why punish the victims? I had someone open a BANK ACCOUNT ONLINE in my name (three actually) and then the hacker overdrew all of them. I had to jump through hoops and complete mountains of paperwork and make 100 phone calls to get the bank to write off the balances due. Why did I have to FIGHT TO PROVE WHO I WAS, but the hacker didn't even have to submit a signature to open three accounts in my name or prove to he/she was to OPEN the accounts?

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