A credit freeze prevent a lender or landlord from checking your report. This is an effective way to stop a criminal from opening a credit line or signing a lease in your name.
As of September 2018 you no longer have to pay a fee to the major credit agencies – Equifax, Transunion, & Experian – when requesting your report become frozen. You do however, need to reach out to each of the three agencies to lock your credit profile. Their contact information can be found below.
The elimination of fees stemmed from legislation signed into law in May 2018, months after Equifax revealed that its consumer database was infringed in a criminal cyber-attack. The breach compromised private data – including names, birth dates and social security numbers – of up to 148-million consumers. Yikes!
Landlords and property managers should not jump to conclusions that an applicant is trying to get around a background check when their credit is frozen. They should, however, follow up with the applicant, notify them that their credit is frozen and ask them to lift the freeze. This can be done by simply calling the credit bureau that is trying to run their report. Once this is done the credit reporting agency can make the request for the tenant’s background check.
Upon the completion of running their reports the tenant can then relock their credit.
Here’s the contact information to call the three major bureaus and request your credit be frozen:
Equifax – 800-685-1111
Experian – 1-888-397-3742