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CU’s guide to security freeze protection



Consumers Union’s Guide to Security Freeze Protection


There are more than eight million new victims of identity theft each year in the U.S. Many of these victims find that crooks have used
stolen personal information like Social Security numbers to open new accounts in their victim’s name.
A security freeze gives consumers the choice to “freeze” or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name.

When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file. When the consumer is applying for credit, he or she can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed. For more information, see: Frequently Asked Questions about the security freeze. To help you decide if getting a security freeze is right for you, click here.
If you are you experiencing problems with your security freeze, click here.

States That Have Adopted Security Freeze Laws:

Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring the credit bureaus to enable consumers to protect their credit files with a security freeze.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Connecticut,
Delaware, District of Columbia,
Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana,
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Maine, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Minnesota,
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,
Nebraska, Nevada, New
Hampshire
,
New Jersey, New
Mexico
,
New York, North Carolina, North
Dakota
,
Ohio Oklahoma,
Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah,
Virginia, Vermont, Washington,
West Virginia, Wisconsin,
Wyoming

security freeze map

Security Freeze Is Now Available In All Other States

Starting November 1, 2007, the security freeze has been be offered voluntarily by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to consumers living in the states that have not yet adopted security freeze laws (Alabama, and Michigan). The freeze also will be available to all consumers in the four states with laws that limit this protection to identity theft victims only (Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota). In order to effectively freeze access to your credit files, you must request the security freeze at each three major credit bureaus.

Guide to the Security Freeze By State

PLEASE NOTE: Consumers Union has provided the following templates as general guidelines on how to place the security freeze in your state. However, we strongly recommend that you also check with the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) to ensure you are submitting the proper documents when placing and using the security freeze.

Alabama

Alabama is one of the few states that has not passed a law requiring the availability of the security freeze. However, as of November 1, 2007, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are all making the freeze available voluntarily to Alabama residents. In order to effectively freeze access to your credit files, you must request the security freeze at all three major credit bureaus.

Eligibility: All Consumers
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

Alaska

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with a copy of a complaint to law enforcement. All others pay a $5 fee to place the freeze and $2 for a temporary lift.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2009
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Alaska’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Alaska’s security freeze law

Before July 1, 2009, you may use the voluntary program.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

Arizona (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with police reports. All others pay a $5 fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. $5 PIN replacement fee.
Effective date of law: August 31, 2008
Copy of Arizona’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Arizona’s security freeze law

Arkansas (security freeze rights for identity theft victims established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
No fee for identity theft victims or persons 65 and older.
Fees: Place – $5.00; Lift – $5.00; Removal – $5.00.
Effective date of law: August 1, 2009.
Duration: Freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.

Copy of Arkansas’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Arkansas’ security freeze law

Non-ID theft victims may use the voluntary program.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

California (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift or remove the freeze; $12 fee to temporarily lift the freeze for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2003
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of California’s security freeze law
Instructions for using California’s security freeze law (PDF)

Colorado (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for the first freeze; $10 to lift the freeze temporarily, or to remove it altogether. $12 to temporarily lift the freeze for a specific creditor. $10 to place a second freeze.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Colorado’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Colorado’s security freeze law

Connecticut (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether; $12 to lift it temporarily for a specific creditor
Effective date of law: January 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Connecticut’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Connecticut’s security freeze law

Delaware (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $20 to place the freeze, but no fees to lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: September 28, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Delaware’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Delaware’s security freeze law

District of Columbia (security freeze rights established by D.C. law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, but no fees to lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of the District of Columbia’s security freeze law
Instructions for using the District of Columbia’s security freeze law

Florida (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Florida’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Florida’s security freeze law

Georgia

Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with police reports. No fee for placement of the freeze for seniors 65 or older. All others pay a $3 fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: August 1, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Georgia’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Georgia’s security freeze law

Hawaii (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: Original law limited to identity theft victims was effective January 1, 2007. All consumers became eligible for the security freeze on June 15, 2007.
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Hawaii’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Hawaii’s security freeze law

Idaho (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with police reports. All others pay a $6 fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. $10 PIN replacement fee.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Idaho’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Idaho’s security freeze law

Illinois (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with police reports and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay a $10 fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Illinois’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Illinois’ security freeze law

Indiana (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: September 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Indiana’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Indiana’s security freeze law

Iowa (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $12 to temporarily lift, or $10 to remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2008.
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Iowa’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Iowa’s security freeze law


Kansas (security freeze rights for identity theft victims established by state law)

Eligibility: Identity theft victims only. As of November 1, 2007, the security freeze will be offered by all three major credit bureaus voluntarily to all consumers.
Fees: No fees permitted by law for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Kansas’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Kansas’ security freeze law

Non-ID theft victims may use the voluntary program.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

Kentucky (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide a police report. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. $10 to have PIN reissued.
Effective date of law: July 11, 2006
Note: Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement.
Copy of Kentucky’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Kentucky’s security freeze law

Louisiana (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or persons aged 62 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, or $8 to lift it temporarily. No fee to remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2005
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Louisiana’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Louisiana’s security freeze law

Maine (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide a police report. All others pay up to $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. $10 to have PIN reissued, and $12 to lift the freeze temporarily for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: February 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Maine’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Maine’s security freeze law

Maryland (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide report of alleged identity fraud or with an identity theft passport. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Maryland’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Maryland’s security freeze law

Massachusetts (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims or victim’s spouse. $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether
Effective date of law: February 3, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Massachusetts’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Massachusetts’ security freeze law

Michigan

Michigan is one of the few states that has not passed a law requiring the availability of the securitry freeze. Michigan consumers may use the voluntary program.

Eligibility: All Consumers
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

Minnesota (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide police report. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: August 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Minnesota’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Minnesota’s security freeze law

Mississippi (security freeze rights for identity theft victims established by state law)

Eligibility: Identity theft victims with a police report, investigative report or complaint filed with a law enforcement agency.

Fees: $10 to place a freeze for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Mississippi’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Mississippi’s security freeze law

Non-ID theft victims may use the voluntary program.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

Missouri (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All Consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide police report. All others pay $5 to place the freeze or lift it temporarily. There is no fee to remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: August 28, 2008.
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Missouri’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Missouri’s security freeze law

Montana (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $3 to place the freeze or to lift it temporarily. $5 to have PIN reissued. No fee to remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Copy of Montana’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Montana’s security freeze law from Montana’s Department of Justice
Instructions for using Montana’s security freeze law

Nebraska (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims and minors. All others pay a one time $15 fee to place the freeze. No fee for lifting the freeze temporarily or removing it altogether.*
Effective date of law: September 1, 2007
Note: Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement.**
Copy of Nebraska’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Nebraska’s security freeze law
*Fees will be reduced to $3 to place, temporarily lift and remove the freeze beginning September 1, 2009. Minors, or persons under 19 years of age, may obtain a freeze for free.
**Beginning September 1, 2009, LB 177 prevents the security freeze from expiring after 7 years from date of placement.

Nevada (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who submit a police report. All others pay $15 to place the freeze, $18 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether. $20 to lift it temporarily for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: October 1, 2005
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Nevada’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Nevada’s security freeze law

New Hampshire (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who submit a copy of a police report, investigative
report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of the law: January 1, 2007
Copy of New Hampshire’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New Hampshire’s security freeze law

New Jersey (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee to place the first security freeze. $5 fee to lift the freeze temporarily, remove it altogether, or to have PIN reissued.
Note: Consumers are also permitted to make such requests directly to consumer reporting
agencies via secured electronic mail.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of New Jersey’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New Jersey’s security freeze law from NJ’s Dept of Banking and Insurance

New Mexico (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with a copy of police or investigative report
and for residents over 65 years of age. All others pay $10 to place a freeze and $5 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of New Mexico’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New Mexico’s security freeze law

New York (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others can place the freeze for free the first time it is used. These consumers pay $5 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether. If they wish to re-start the freeze after it is removed, they pay a $5 fee.
Effective date of law: November 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of New York’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New York’s security freeze law

North Carolina (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All Consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with a valid report or complaint with a law enforcement agency. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: December 1, 2005
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of North Carolina’s security freeze law
Instructions for using North Carolina’s security freeze law from NC’s Attorney General

North Dakota (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with valid copy of a police report or police case number documenting the investigative report or complaint to law enforcement agency. All others pay $5 to place or lift the freeze. No fee for removing freeze.
Effective date: June 1 2007
Copy of North Dakota’s security freeze law
Instructions for using North Dakota’s security freeze law


Ohio
(security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: September 1, 2008 for the security freeze provisions.
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Ohio’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Ohio’s security freeze law

Oklahoma (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with investigative report or for seniors aged 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Oklahoma’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Oklahoma’s security freeze law

Oregon (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether
Effective date of law: October 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Oregon’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Oregon’s security freeze law

Pennsylvania (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze or to lift it temporarily. No fee to remove the freeze.
Note: Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Copy of Pennsylvania’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Pennsylvania’s security freeze law

Rhode Island (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Rhode Island’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Rhode Island’s security freeze law

South Carolina (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: None.
Effective date of law: December 31, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.

Copy of South Carolina’s security freeze law
Instructions for using South Carolina’s security freeze law

Until December 31, 2008, you may use the voluntary program.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

South Dakota (security freeze rights for identity theft victims established by state law)

Eligibility: Identity theft victims with a valid police report. As of November 1, 2007, the security freeze will be offered by all three major credit bureaus voluntarily to all consumers.
Fees: No fees permitted by law for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Note: Only freezes credit report and automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Copy of South Dakota’s security freeze law
Instructions for using South Dakota’s security freeze law

Non-ID theft victims may use the voluntary program.
Security Freeze Instructions for Equifax
Security Freeze Instructions for Experian
Security Freeze Instructions for TransUnion

Tennessee (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $7.50 to place the freeze, no fee to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether.
Effective date of the law: Sept. 1, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Tennessee’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Tennessee’s security freeze law
Copy of Tennessee’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Tennessee’s security freeze law

Texas (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All other consumers pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or to remove it altogether. $12 to lift the freeze temporarily for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: September 1, 2003 for identity theft victims; September 1, 2007 for all consumers
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Texas’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Texas’ security freeze law

Utah (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: Utah’s law allows credit bureaus to charge “reasonable fees,” without specifying the amount that can be charged.
Note: Consumers will be able to temporarily lift or "thaw" the freeze within 15 minutes of electronic request
Effective date of law: September 1, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Utah’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Utah’s security freeze law

Vermont (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Vermont’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Vermont’s security freeze law from VT’s Attorney General

Virginia

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with police reports. All others pay a $10 fee to place the freeze.

Effective date of law: July 1, 2008
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Virginia’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Virginia’s security freeze law

Washington (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: Currently applies to identity theft victims, including persons who receive a notice of a security breach of computerized personal information. Beginning September 1, 2008, all consumers will be eligible for the freeze.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 years and older. Once all other consumers become eligible in September 2008, they will pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 24, 2005 for identity theft victims; September 1, 2008 for all consumers
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Washington’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Washington’s security freeze law from WA’s Attorney General

West Virginia (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of the law: July 2, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of West Virginia’s security freeze law
Instructions for using West Virginia’s security freeze law

Wisconsin (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for an "individual who submits evidence satisfactory to the CRAs that the individual made a report to a law enforcement agency.” All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Wisconsin’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Wisconsin’s security freeze law

Wyoming (security freeze rights established by state law)

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Note: Requires electronic and telephone methods to lift, imposes the 15 minute lift timeframe starting September 1, 2008.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.
Copy of Wyoming’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Wyoming’s security freeze law

For more information on security freezes, see the Consumers Union/U.S. PIRG Model State Clean Credit and Identity Theft Protection Act.


Updated October, 16, 2011

Financial Services Campaign Team
Consumers Union