Starting Jan. 1, 2009, Hoosiers will be able to "freeze" or "thaw" their credit reports by telephone, e-mail or regular mail. All three methods are FREE.
The e-mail and telephone options are brand new on that date and will make it easier and faster for most consumers to protect themselves from financial fraud.
Easier, faster, free: That's what we call consumer empowerment.
Indiana's Security Freeze law is based on a simple concept. It lets consumers freeze third-party access to their credit reports until and unless consumers want to "thaw" or release them.
Since no legitimate business will issue or increase credit without reviewing an applicant's credit report, the freeze stops criminals from falsely obtaining credit in your name. That makes it one of the most effective actions you can take to protect yourself from financial fraud.
Once you request a freeze, the national credit reporting agencies will send you a unique personal identification number or PIN that lets you temporarily "thaw" a freeze when you're shopping for credit.
Freeze and thaw requests made by telephone or e-mail must be honored within 15 minutes of their receipt by the credit reporting agencies. That means no long waits to exercise the control you need over your credit reports.
Indiana's law includes other strong consumer protections:
- By law, placing a security freeze won't hurt your credit rating.
- Unique among states, Indiana's law makes this service FREE for everyone, even people who've never been victimized by identity theft.
Imagine the peace of mind of knowing that even if your personal information falls to petty thieves, they won't be able to use your credit report against you.
Here's how to contact the three credit reporting agencies that maintain your credit report.
Equifax Phone: 1-800-685-1111
Equifax Web: www.equifax.com
Equifax Mail: Equifax Security Freeze, PO Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnion Phone: 1-800-916-8800
TransUnion Web: www.tuc.com
TransUnion Mail: TransUnion Security Freeze, PO Box 6790, Fullerton CA 92834
Experian Phone: 1-888-397-3742
Experian Web: www.experian.com
Experian Mail: Experian Security Freeze, PO Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
For consumers who choose the "mail" option, AARP Indiana has a FREE "Security Freeze Kit" that can simplify your request. The kit includes simple forms, background information and mailing labels for all three credit reporting agencies.
Request your free kit by calling 1-866-448-3618 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.