Step 1: Create an Account with Social Security
Before requesting a credit freeze, you should create an account with the Social Security Administration – mySocialSecurity. Only one account per Social Security number can be created and by creating yours now you protect yourself against someone else using your number to do so. You should claim your mySocialSecurity account first because SSA uses information from your credit reports to verify your identity. If you freeze your credit first, you most likely will not be able to claim your mySocialSecurity account online and you will have to go into your local Social Security office (and wait an hour or longer) to speak to a representative to verify your identity.
Step 2: Request Your Credit Freeze from all Credit Bureaus
The 3 largest credit reporting agencies and the smaller credit bureaus allow you to add a “credit freeze” or “security freeze” to your credit reports. When your credit is frozen, no creditor can access your credit report to process an application for new credit. So, if a hacker gets hold of your Social Security number, address and other personal identification information, and that person attempted to open a credit card account in your name, the credit reporting agency will not release information about your credit history. Without access to your credit history, creditors who based lending decisions on credit reports will not extend new credit.
You should understand, however, that a credit freeze will not stop identity theft. Thieves won’t be able to open accounts that rely on credit reports, but they can still open accounts with smaller vendors or use your stolen ID for other nefarious purposes. Also, you won’t necessarily know that a criminal has tried to open credit accounts in your name.
Still, placing a credit freeze on your credit reports is generally a good idea. You can temporarily remove the freeze if you need to apply for credit like a car loan or mortgage. In Georgia, the cost to place or remove a credit freeze is $3 for each credit reporting agency.
Freeze your Equifax credit report – click here
Freeze your Experian credit report – click here
Freeze your Trans Union credit report – click here or call 888-909-8872.
Freeze your Innovis credit report – click here or call 800-540-2505.
Many people are reporting that the online or telephone credit freeze process does not work. You can request a freeze in writing by using this sample letter.