ID Theft Prevention
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a security freeze to take effect?
After five business days from receiving your letter, the credit reporting agencies listed above will place a freeze on the provision of your credit reports to potential creditors. Within ten business days of receiving your freeze request, the credit reporting agencies will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep this PIN or password in a safe place as you will need it to lift the credit freeze.
Can I open new credit accounts if my files are frozen?
If you want to take out a loan, get a new credit card or apply for a job or certain services, you can lift the security freeze for a certain period of time or for a specific party by notifying the credit bureau according to its procedures.
Can I remove a security freeze?
Yes. You can have a security freeze lifted for a specific party, temporary period of time, or permanently. There is no fee for Indiana residents. To lift a freeze:
- Contact the credit reporting agencies above by mail, telephone or online;
- Provide proper identification;
- Provide your unique PIN or password;
- If lifting temporarily, you must include the party you wish to release a report to and/or during what time period your credit report will be accessible.
How long does it take for a security freeze to be lifted?
If lift requests are made by telephone or online during normal business hours (under reasonable circumstances), the consumer reporting agencies must lift the freeze within 15 minutes.
What will a creditor who requests my file see if it is frozen?
A creditor will see a message indicating the file is frozen.
Can a creditor get my credit score if my file is frozen?
No. A creditor who requests your file from one of the three credit bureaus will only get a message indicating the file is frozen.
Can I order my own credit report if my file is frozen?
Yes. You will still be able to get a free copy of your credit report annually from each credit bureau by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
Can anyone see my credit file if it is frozen?
When you have a security freeze on your credit file, certain entities still have access to it. Your report can still be released to your existing creditors or to collection agencies acting on their own behalf. They can use it to review or collect on your account. Other creditors may also use your information to make offers of credit. Government agencies may also have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.
Do I have to freeze my file with all three credit bureaus?
Yes. Different credit issuers may use different credit bureaus. If you want to stop your credit file from being viewed, you must freeze it with Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.
Will a freeze lower my credit score?
Can an employer do a background check on my credit file?
No. You would have to lift the freeze to allow a background check, just as you would to apply for credit. The process for lifting the freeze is described above.
Does freezing my file mean that I won’t receive pre-approved credit offers?
No. You can stop the pre-approved credit offers by calling (888) 567-8688. You can also do this online at www.optoutprescreen.com.
What law addreses security freezes?
The Indiana security freeze law passed as Senate Bill 403 and went into effect September 1, 2007.
If I move out of Indiana, will my freeze remain in effect?
Approximately 40 states have freeze laws. If you move to another state that allows consumers to freeze their credit reports, it would remain in place. You may contact the consumer reporting agencies for confirmation.
May I put more than one person's freeze request in an envelope?
We are not aware of anything preventing you from sending multiple requests in one envelope.
Must the mail be certified?
Certified mail is not required, but is recommended.
What if my spouse doesn’t have a utility bill in their name?
Any document that provides sufficient proof of identity to the consumer reporting agency will work. Each credit reporting agency has slightly different rules. You may reference each CRA Web site for more information. The relevant language in the statute is "clearly identify" and "information sufficient to identify the consumer." So most recent documents showing a person lives a particular address should be sufficient, but consumers should check out the CRA’s specific rules before mailing their documents:
Does each spouse need to submit separate forms?
It is the understanding of the Attorney General’s Office that each spouse has to submit a separate freeze request.
Will this freeze my credit card?
Freezes do not apply to existing lines of credit that have been authorized by the consumer.
Will I need my PIN number each time I want to use my credit card?
The PIN is used to lift or remove the freeze to allow third parties to access your credit report. The PIN is not needed to use an existing credit card.
Mailing all of this personal information through the mail seems risky. What precautions can I take to secure my identity?
Use a security envelope, ensure the envelope is properly sealed, and don’t indicate on the outside that personal information is enclosed.
NOTE: THIS FACT SHEET IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE OR AS THE POLICY OF THE STATE OF INDIANA. IF YOU WANT ADVICE ON A PARTICULAR CASE, YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY OR OTHER EXPERT. THE FACT SHEET MAY BE COPIED, IF (1) THE MEANING OF THE COPIED TEXT IS NOT CHANGED OR MISREPRESENTED, (2) CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE OFFICE OF THE INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND (3) ALL COPIES ARE DISTRIBUTED FREE OF CHARGE.