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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

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?

EQUIFAX WILL NOT TAKE A SECURITY FREEZE REQUEST ONLINE OR OVER THE TELEPHONE AS THEY SAY ON THEIR WEBSITE. ONCE YOU FILL OUT THE "FREEZE FORM" REQUEST, YOU ARE ROUTED TO A PAGE THAT SAYS EQUIFAX IS TAKING FREEZE REQUESTS ONLY BY MAIL. THE PROBLEM WITH THAT IS THAT EQUIFAX DOES NOT CONFIRM THE RECEIPT OF YOUR MAIL REQUEST NOR CONFIRM THAT YOUR CREDIT HAS BEEN FROZEN. THE OTHER TWO MAJOR CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES ALLOW YOU TO APPLY AND RECEIVE A CONFIRMATION OF FREEZE ONLINE.

Fraud alerts are a waste of time. The creditor does not have to call you. A freeze is the only protection. I know, because I was an identity theft victim. It will cost $30 to freeze all 3, at most, and another $30, again, at most, to unfreeze.

I want a credit freeze now

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

I just tried to freeze my credit report on Equifax web page and the lead gave me an error paging stating they are unable to freeze my credit report but gave a lead to two other companies that will freeze my credit report for $3.00 each. Since Equifax are the ones who caused the problem they need to pay for everything. Their CEO's made lots of money by selling their stock before letting the nation know about this.

While we're on the subject of "our information" how about looking into the CLUE company, a spin-off of Equifax which collects your data from all insurance companies and shares it with all the other insurance companies. If you make a claim with your current company, all insurance companies know it and can take that into consideration if you try to change companies. Result: higher rates where ever you go.

My colleague and I just placed freezes with all three credit bureaus at no charge; therefore, this statement in the article is incorrect and should be updated: "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." As of 9/29/17, none of the credit reporting agencies are charging a fee to freeze credit.

I tried to freeze on Experian but they said at the end that I need to mail in a bunch of stuff. (no help provided)

This is NUTS. My husband's (then my) info was stolen in that Chinese hack of OPM...we both decided NOT to sign up for the government-selected credit monitoring service, because it could only be done online (which seemed like shooting fish in a barrel - the gov't tells the world a bunch of people will be going to a website to enter PII/sign up for service - wouldn't hackers make that a priority to hack?
Now this...of course my husband and I show as "affected" on Experian's website, but I was thrilled that I could sign up for the credit freeze over the phone. Two days later (to include staying up until 2am one night), I'm still getting the "we can't complete your request" at the end of my calls, so I just broke down and signed up online. Don't like it though...not one bit. I fear this track record of messing up/hiding it until later will be exactly how the new security freeze website will be remembered, in years to come...and yet I had no choice. And people worry about *government surveillance* still? I care more about this!!

If in fact if you feel the Government needs to be involved, take the time to send YOUR concerns to your state Congressmen/woman; and your Senators. I sure did. HAUNT them ...... NOW.

FTC: Do you not have the Authority to require Equifax to share with the other 2 major Credit Agencies, all of the accounts who's data was compromised?

And then, do you not have the Authority to request that Trans Union and Experian put some notification on the matching accounts in their databases, that double and triple checks for new credit is recommended?

I was under the impression the FTC is supposed to Protect the Consumer. This is huge and we need your help NOW.

I would also like to know the answer to this question. Why should the trusting consumer have to pay for the negligence of big corporations that fail to do their part in protections our private information. I refuse to sign up for credit monitoring that is offered by Equifax. That seems a little off kilter to me, since they obviously don't have their systems secure. They should offer to pay for the credit freezes on all three bureaus. What is the FTC's role in protecting us?

How do I know if the other credit unions have my credit set up on fraud alert? Isn't is supposed to be when the steps were done through Equifax?

Yes, when you contact one credit reporting company to place a fraud alert on your credit report, the company you call must tell the other companies about your alert. The initial alert stays on your report for at least 90 days.

I would not be surprised to learn that Equifax performed the breach...they created an awful lot of new customers for they and the other credit monitoring companies to sell credit monitoring programs to. they should be made to provide the security free of charge...for life!!! And pay for the other two companies monitoring.

I wish to temporarily place a credit free with Equifax Security Freeze

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.anyone onnthe.inside.did.anything.id.think it.was.the.goverment trying to.get a hold of tax fraud prior to tax season...everyone.watches.closely and.intun.prevents.billions in.what woul have.been missed by people being.what we are known.to.be., slackers. if.it.wasnt.them, they missed.out.

note to anyone getting the error that says:

System Currently Unavailable - Error 500 We're sorry. We cannot process your security freeze request online at this time. Please try back later.

I redid the information and succeeded. I believe that if the system tells you that you have to go back and 'fix' part of what you input the captcha #'s at the bottom need to be manually reset for the submission to work.

I need a credit freeze on my credit.Someone opened a savings account with my sSS#

Given Obama's Labor Secretary appointee Penny Pritzger and family own big in one of the credit reporting agencies, you think anything was gonna happen over the past eight years to rein in these corrupt businesses. No way, politicians are too well bribed.

Our online information is not securable, this is a fact. Our private government, financial and medical information shouldn't be there, it is not in the best interest of our nation, or it's people. The least this administration should do is make freezes an automatic condition without pin. And do nothing to stop legal recourse for your citizens. *Put all freezes in by certified mail, return receipt, following all instructions, to ensure your legal rights for what is sure to be a very rough future.

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 January 31, 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.

UNFREEZE MY ACCOUT+ FREES CHARGE

I can't get the second part of the sign-up for one year of monitoring offered free. Is this a scam? If I can't complete, does equifax benefit by not having to pay for it??

How about a punitive class action lawsuit against Equifax for damage?

Can you opt for fraud alert and at a later date, if necessary, take advantage of free freeze under Equifax?

Yes, you could place a fraud alert and later place a credit freeze.

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.

credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. A credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.

The root of the problem is that banks only focus on opening new accounts. The more accounts they open, the more money they make. They don't care whether the identity is true or false. There's no law to punish there wrong doing. The problem can easily be solved if the illegal credit card charge law can be applied to false accounts. For illegal credit charge, the burden is on the creditor, consumer's loss is zero or $50 at the worst. See how fast banks developed real time monitoring to detect fraudulent charge on existing credit cards? See how they immediately freeze existing credit cards when they detect any unusual behavior? Banks DO have the ability to prevent id theft accounts from opening. The problem is not only they don't want to spend any effort, their goal is to open as many accounts as possible, including fraudulent accounts because only the consumers take the bad consequence.

I finally decided to put a freeze on the big 3 CRA's. I will also be freezing Innovis in the very near future. However, I am a bit perplexed that, although Transunion and Experian asked security questions, Equifax only asked for the basics, full name, birth date, current address and SS#, but no security questions. Isn't that odd? Oh well, at least Equifax did not charge the $5.

I never opted IN to have the three major credit trackers keep data on my spending habits. How do I opt OUT? I never gave permission for my data to be collected, stored, exploited, and now breached. I want OUT!!

I'm worried that someone can get into my accounts. I got a email saying someone from ccb/ppc checked out my credit report. That's why I want to freeze my credit.

I attempted to place a credit freeze (at 12:20 AM Pacific time) on my information with Equifax online at www. freeze. equifax. com/ Freeze/ jsp/ SFF_PersonalIDInfo. jsp and received the following message:

System Currently Unavailable - Error 500

We're sorry. We cannot process your security freeze request online at this time. Please try back later.

Surely the website is not overloaded at this hour. Has this website been compromised? I attempted this earlier in the day and received the same message. I contacted Equifax customer service and they said they had no idea the site was not functioning. They indicated it was down because of heavy traffic (at 12:20 AM Pacific, 3:20 AM Eastern)? I made a third attempt at 12:50 AM and was unsuccessful. The error this time was:

We are currently unable to service your request.
Please try again later.

This is obviously unacceptable. This company compromised the most critical data of most working Americans and should be required to create a functional system to enable them to protect it from further exposure. The executives in charge during this whole situation should be punished to fullest extent allowed by law.

Can the FTC please confirm if the website is/is not functional and/or confirm if it has been compromised? The behavior of the website shows all indications it has been compromised. If it has been compromised, it needs to be taken down so people aren't sending their SSNs and DOBs unknown/unauthorized locations.

The FTC does not control Equifaxsecurity2017. com. Please contact Equifax for information about how its sites are functioning. You can tell the FTC about your experience when you tried to reach the site at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

Offline all day today, 12/3/2017

Lisa if you or anyone at the FTC can help with this, the Equifax website www. freeze. equifax. com does NOT have a way to use my existing PIN to lift my credit freeze. I had place a freeze after Anthem breach and Equifax has not way to use the info they gave me from that freeze to go online and lift my freeze. This will also apply to anyone who was successful using the current website to generate a new PIN - there is no place to enter your PIN to unfreeze the acct.

I looked at the link you sent. The first page says there are three steps. The first step is to give personal ID information. Can you say more about which step is not working for you? That will help us understand where the problem is. Thank you.

Hackers are for the highest bidder, and the South is still fighting an war long losted. Their picking and choosing who should have wealth. Their rewriting regulation and laws. So anything other then your faith you have no protection.
Love you all regardless of your hate.

I would like to place a fraud alert

Place a fraud alert with any one of the three:

I’ve been trying to freeze Equifax account for over a month and it always says to try again both online or over the phone. If I select the mail option over the phone it disconnects the call. What gives?

Good morning:
Thank you for the information about credit fraud. I had theft Identity about a month ago. The hackers entered my bank account with MBNA and withdrew $649.00 that the bank, once had the information about how it happened, reimbursed me the total amount and adviced me to cancel the existing account and open a new one, which I did. The name of the Hackers are Unification Technology, Tel. No, 18442161499; 18148161641, 12096903669.
They disabled my computer and I had to send it to a friend of mine in Puerto Rico, specialized in those situations, and he fixed. My cost to have it fixes was over $350.00 but I wanted to save my information and he did a good job.
Those people, (Unification Technology) took me for $400.00 about six month ago. They entered my computer, disabled it and then they asked me for that amount to fix it. And, they did. But to call me six month after that to tell me they will reimburse me the money they charged me in the first place. Since I had another hacker that did that, reimburse me almost $379.00 I thought the Government had intervened and it was a law that they had to reimburse that money wrongly earned. They entered my PC, dissabled it and asked me to pay them $1,600.00. I turned off my computer and did not answered their calls. That was what happened and they disabled the PCH that was later fixed by other expert in that matter.
I have given you information about those hackers and I have the messages they sent me arguing they will do what they did.
Thank you for reading this and taking the action you may to correct and find those hackers. They are from California, USA.

A credit freeze is fine, but why do I have to pay a fee too take it off.

Your state sets the cost to place and lift a freeze. Some states don't charge ID theft victims to set or lift a freeze. Some states have different prices for people over age 62. This comparison of fraud alerts, freezes and locks tells you more.

Tried to freeze the credit with Equifax online and got system not available.

Freezing one account may do no good, but I'll do it anyway just so this company will lose money.

Trying to do free credit freeze before January 31.How do i go about it

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.

I have my credit frozen at all 3 agencies. Yet someone was able to open a new Verizon account in my name using a old mailing address. How is that possible. How lax is Verizon?

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