It's a highly advisable step, and it's pretty easy - if you know where to look. That's what today's entry is about. I just went through this process for Rick and me, and wanted to give you the most direct information so you don't have to scour the web or digging through articles to find it. So without further ado, here's how to freeze your credit.
One thing you need to know is that this isn't a "one and done" deal. You have to do it with all three credit reporting agencies. Here's how you do it:
Equifax is an obvious start, and they made it pretty easy. Just fill out the form, and they'll give you a page to print out at the end to show the freeze is processed. Click here to go to the Equifax Form.
TransUnion can also be done online, but it's a bit more of a process. You have to create an account with a UserId and Password to apply for the freeze. It will take a bit more time, but it's worth it. Click here to set up the account and apply for a freeze.
Experian has to be done by telephone, because their online form isn't working - it goes to an "oops, the page you're looking for can't be found." The good news is that the process is pretty quick and easy by telephone. Just put your phone on speaker with the keypad open so you can enter the information at the prompts. Also note, there may be long pauses while the computer processes your answers. They'll mail you a confirmation on the credit freeze, with information on how to apply for a temporary or permanant release on the freeze. You can contact them at 1-888-397-3742.
Other notes on the credit freeze: first, they are experiencing high volume, so be patient. I did it when I got home from work and the wait times weren't bad, but they were slowing down as it got later, and Rick got the "our system is busy" from TransUnion around 6 p.m. You might want to try it at an odd time, like early in the morning or late at night.
Another thing to be aware of is that some states charge fees to place a credit freeze. South Carolina doesn't, but you may want to consult this chart to see if your state does so you can be prepared to pay the fee by credit card when you go through this process.
The last note is that they all ask if you've been a victim of identity theft. Hopefully, the answer is no and we're being proactive, but if you have been, then have the documentation ready.
I hope this information is helpful. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow, and a wonderful weekend.