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Freeze credit with all bureaus

There are many reasons someone might want to freeze their credit or lock their credit report down. These might include being the victim of a stolen identity or being worried about the Equifax breach.

Both of these situations are stressful and can be overwhelming. If you’re worried that your data has been breached or that there is fraud on your account, consider freezing your credit.

We’ll walk you through how a credit freeze works and the steps you need to take to freeze your credit with all three credit bureaus.

How does a credit freeze work?

Freezing your credit means you are sealing your credit reports, stopping new lines of credit from being opened. A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, means potential creditors can’t get your report. There is a cost to place a freeze, which varies by states. For Washington, the cost is $10, and $6 for Idaho. If you were the victim of identity theft and have a police report, or are a senior, you may be able to place a freeze for free.

Freezing your credit won’t undo any existing damage and it will not impact any existing lines of credit. A credit freeze doesn’t protect data if it has already been compromised. It prevents new lines of credit from being opened by rejecting any new requests for credit.

A credit freeze literally freezes any new credit or loan requests from being approved. If you know that you will be applying for a loan soon, consider holding off on freezing your credit.

Once you freeze your credit, it will remain frozen until you request the freeze be removed. Note that if you are in any of the states that have state security freeze laws, you will want to review the Consumer Union’s Guide to Security Freeze Protection.

Keep in mind, a credit freeze applies to legitimate credit checks you may need. If you need a credit report because you are applying for a loan, a potential job, renting an apartment, etc., you would need to call each credit bureau and have them lift the freeze temporarily. (You may be charged a fee to lift the freeze.)

How to freeze your credit across all credit bureaus

Chart of the 4 steps to freeze your credit in the shape of an ice cube

What happens if I need to buy something?

If you need to open a new credit card, loan, or even know a potential employer might be pulling your credit, you can request a temporary lift. If you know which credit bureau they are contacting, you can contact just that particular company. Keep in mind a temporary lift can take several days and may involve a fee to lift the freeze. 

A credit freeze does not close your current accounts. If a debit or credit card has been stolen, freezing your credit won’t protect charges from being made. You can use the Card Freeze feature using your Numerica app. This is only a temporary solution but can be done instantaneously, putting time back on your side. 

How do I remove a freeze from my credit?

In Washington and Idaho, a credit freeze remains in place until you ask the credit reporting company to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. A credit reporting company must lift a freeze no later than three business days after getting your request. (You may be charged a fee to lift the freeze.)

Remember that Numerica is a partner in your financial well-being. If you are a victim of identity theft or want to learn more about protecting your accounts, contact our Fraud Department at 800.433.1837 ext. 8333. 

Check out more on our fraud series with: 

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