Lifting a Security Freeze
When you want to take out a loan, get a new credit card or apply for a job or for certain services, you can temporarily lift (or “thaw”) your security freezes. You will use the PINs or passwords you received when you established your security freezes.
Procedures for lifting a security freeze vary from one credit bureau to another. Keep the information that came with your PINs or passwords, and refer to it when you want to lift that credit bureau’s freeze.
Lifting a Security Freeze
When you ask for a security freeze
to be lifted, you tell the credit bureau how long you want your credit report to be available. In most instances a week is usually enough time for a business, credit card issuer, or potential employer to check your report. If you can find out which credit bureau they use, you only need to lift your freeze with that particular credit bureau. If not, you will need to lift all three of your security freezes.
How to Lift Security Freezes Online
To lift your security freeze, contact the credit bureau (or bureaus) online:
(Note: the links above will take you to the websites for the three credit bureaus. These sites are separate from www.ncdoj.gov
Be prepared to provide detailed information about yourself, including:
- Your Full Name
- Your Address
- Your Date of Birth
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Security Freeze PIN or password for each credit bureau
- Your account username and password (TransUnion only)
(Note: The credit bureaus already have this information in their files. You will be providing it to verify your identity.)
How Long Does it Take to Lift a Security Freeze?
Credit bureaus can usually comply with an online or telephone request to lift a security freeze within 15 minutes. Credit bureaus have up to three business days to comply with a written request to lift a security freeze after they receive the request by mail.
If You Forget to Lift Your Freeze
If you forget to lift your security freezes before you apply for credit, a creditor who requests your file will see a message that the reports are frozen. This can delay your application for credit. The creditor may remind you that the security freeze is in place and allow time for you to have it lifted.
If You Lose Your PIN
If you lose your PIN or password, the company must give you a new one free of charge. If you lose it a second time, the company can charge up to $3 to give you a new one.
To receive a new PIN from Equifax or TransUnion, you must make your request in writing and provide proof of identification. (A copy of your driver's license, passport, birth certificate, etc.) Mailing addresses for those credit bureaus can be found here
. To receive a new PIN from Experian, visit this page
and select "Request a Personal Identification Number."
Removing a Security Freeze Permanently
Procedures for permanently removing a security freeze may vary from one credit bureau to another. Refer to the information that came with your PINs or passwords for details on a specific credit bureau’s procedures.
If a credit bureau allows you to remove your freeze online, it will usually be able to comply with your online request within 15 minutes. If you make the request by mail or phone, credit bureaus have up to three business days after they receive your call or letter to comply with your request.