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.
A security freeze (also known as credit freeze) of your Equifax credit report is regulated by federal law. You can place, temporarily lift or permanently remove a freeze on your Equifax credit report for free online, by phone or by mail.
As part of your Equifax Complete™ Family Plan, Equifax Complete™ Premier, Equifax Credit Monitor™ or Equifax Complete™ product, you can lock or unlock your Equifax credit report within your myEquifax account. Credit report locks allow you to lock and unlock your Equifax credit report.
Please note: You cannot have both a freeze and lock on your Equifax credit report at the same time. If you prefer to switch from one service to the other, you will first need to remove your current service and to replace it with the other.
Exceptions: Freezing or locking 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, 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 to whom you owe an unpaid debt;
- Companies that are authenticating your 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.