What's the difference between a credit report lock and a security freeze?
A lock and a freeze have the same impact on your Equifax credit report, but they aren’t the same thing. Both generally prevent access to your Equifax credit report to open new credit accounts. Unless you temporarily lift or permanently remove a freeze, or unlock your Equifax credit report, it can’t be accessed to open new accounts (subject to certain exceptions). See more about exceptions below.
Security freezes (also known as credit freezes) are federally regulated and allow you to place, temporarily lift or permanently remove a freeze with a username and password or another method. Placing, temporarily lifting or permanently removing a security freeze is free.
At Equifax, you can manage your freeze:
- Online with your username and password after creating a myEquifax account. You can also check the status of your security freeze through myEquifax.
- By phone: Call us at (888) 298-0045. You’ll have the option to verify your identity by providing certain personal information, and receiving a one-time PIN by text message (data charges may apply) or answering questions based on information in your Equifax credit report.
- By mail: You can download this form and follow the instructions to manage a security freeze by mail.
Credit report locks are mobile app-enabled and allow you to lock and unlock your Equifax credit report using identity verification techniques such as usernames and passwords.
Please note: If you have a security freeze on your Equifax credit report, you will need to remove it to lock your Equifax credit report. You can unfreeze your Equifax credit by creating a myEquifax account, or contacting us by phone or mail. Read more about removing a security freeze by phone or mail.
Exceptions: Locking or freezing your Equifax credit report will prevent access to it by certain third parties. Locking or freezing your Equifax credit report will not prevent access to your credit report at any other credit bureau. Entities that may still have access to your Equifax credit report include:
- Companies like Equifax Global Consumer Solutions, which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score, or monitor your credit report as part of a subscription or similar service;
- Companies that provide you with a copy of your credit report or credit score, upon your request;
- Federal, state, and local government agencies and courts in certain circumstances;
- Companies using the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance, or for employment, tenant or background screening purposes;
- Companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe;
- Companies that authenticate a consumer’s identity for purposes other than granting credit, or for investigating or preventing actual or potential fraud; and
- Companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com.
Equifax maintains consumers’ credit reports and provides information to certain customers, including credit card companies and lenders, so that they may offer pre-approved offers to consumers as permitted by law. Consumers that prefer not to receive such offers should visit www.optoutprescreen.com, or call toll free at 1-888-5-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688). Consumers may also send an opt-out request in writing to Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374-0123. Consumers should include their complete name, full address, Social Security number, and signature. Equifax will remove the consumer’s name from its pre-approved offer database and share the request with the other two nationwide consumer reporting agencies.