A state law that took effect Nov. 1, 2006 permits individuals to “lock” up their credit files by putting a “freeze” on their credit reports. A security freeze blocks access to a credit report and can help prevent identity theft. For example, with a security freeze activated, a bank or credit card company would not be able to check your credit file, and therefore, would probably deny the application, preventing the imposter from stealing your identity and opening a line of credit in your name.

However, the same holds true if you wanted to apply for credit in your own name while your freeze is on your account. This means that you have to plan ahead for a wide variety of situations, such as credit and employment applications, as you will need to contact the credit reporting agencies to “thaw” the freeze beforehand and authorize the release of your personal information. Otherwise, your application will likely be denied. A security freeze may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any application you have  for a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular phone, utility hook-up, Internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit at the point of sale.

To freeze your credit, contact one of the following agencies. Use this sample letter to draft your own.

Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Security Freeze
PO Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834

Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348