Credit Scores & Credit Monitoring What To Do About Bad Credit How To Freeze Your Credit Report at Equifax for Free Protect your Equifax credit report from identity theft By LaToya Irby LaToya Irby Facebook Twitter LaToya Irby is a credit expert who has been covering credit and debt management for The Balance for more than a dozen years. She's been quoted in USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, and the Associated Press, and her work has been cited in several books. learn about our editorial policies Updated on December 29, 2021 Reviewed by Khadija Khartit Reviewed by Khadija Khartit Twitter Website Khadija Khartit is a strategy, investment, and funding expert, and an educator of fintech and strategic finance in top universities. She has been an investor, entrepreneur, and advisor for more than 25 years. She is a FINRA Series 7, 63, and 66 license holder. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Ariana Chávez Sponsored by What's this? & In This Article View All In This Article Freezing Your Equifax Credit Report Freezing a Minor’s Equifax Credit Report Lifting and Unfreezing Your Credit Report What Freezing Your Equifax Report Won’t Do Reporting Problems With Your Credit Freeze Photo: Asiseeit / Getty Images Freezing your credit report is an important step to take to protect yourself from identity theft. With a frozen credit report, credit bureaus won’t provide information to companies that try to access your information to approve credit or loan applications. Even better, freezing your credit report is free at all three major credit bureaus. Unfortunately, you’ll have to freeze your credit report separately at each credit bureau. Here’s how to do it at Equifax. Freezing Your Equifax Credit Report You have three options for freezing your credit report with Equifax. Online The fastest way to freeze your credit report is online via Equifax’s website. To complete the freeze, you’ll first have to create a myEquifax account. Creating an account requires you to provide your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and identity verification information. By Phone If you don’t want to create an online account with Equifax, the next best option is to request a freeze by phone. The number to call is 888-298-0045. When you request a freeze by phone, a one-time PIN will be sent by text message to you. Note According to federal law, it can take no more than one business day for your freeze to take effect when you request it online or by phone, and no more than three business days when requested by mail. By Mail The final option for freezing your credit report is to download and mail in the appropriate forms. Send the completed paperwork to Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348-5788. Send via certified mail so you have proof that your forms were mailed and you can check to see when they’re received. When you freeze your credit, you’ll need to provide one document to validate your identification. This can be any of the following: Valid driver's licenseSocial Security cardPay stubW-2 form1099 formCourt documents for legal name changeBirth certificatePassportMarriage certificateDivorce decreeState IDMilitary ID You’ll also need to provide one item to validate your address: Valid driver's licenseUtility bill with the correct address (gas, water, cable, residential phone bill)Cellphone billPay stubW-2 form1099 formRental lease agreement/house deedMortgage statementBank statementState ID Once Equifax receives your forms and identifying documentation by mail, it can take up to three business days for the freeze to become effective. Freezing a Minor’s Equifax Credit Report Parents can also freeze credit reports for children under age 16 to prevent their identities from being used fraudulently. You must complete the Minor Freeze Request Form and provide information for the person whose credit you want to freeze. In addition, you must show you have the authority to request the freeze. Minors who are 16 or 17 may request their own security freeze by phone or mail. Note If the minor does not have a credit file, Equifax will create one to freeze it. Lifting and Unfreezing Your Credit Report When you’re ready to apply for a loan or credit card, you’ll need to temporarily lift the freeze so the lender can pull your credit report. You may not know ahead of time which credit report the company will check, so unfreezing all three credit reports is best. You can unfreeze your Equifax report online, by phone, or by mail. Unfreezing online or by phone is fastest; Equifax has to lift the freeze in an hour. Otherwise, if you request the freeze by mail, it can take up to three business days for the freeze to be lifted. What About a Fraud Alert? A fraud alert doesn’t lock your credit report the way a credit freeze does. Instead, it requires a lender or creditor to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. Fraud alerts also expire after a year, unless you have been the victim of identity theft, in which case they last for seven years. What Freezing Your Equifax Credit Report Won’t Do Be aware that a credit report freeze doesn’t offer protection from all types of fraud. Thieves may be able to open accounts with businesses that don’t use a major credit bureau. They may also be able to commit other types of fraud like taking over a credit card account or filing taxes in your name. Businesses that you already have a relationship with will still be able to access your credit information, too. Freezing your credit report at Equifax won’t affect your credit score. You’ll still be able to use your credit accounts and monitor your credit. Reporting Problems With Your Credit Freeze If you think Equifax isn’t placing your credit freeze properly, you can submit a complaint to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau online or by calling 855-411-2372. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Federal Trade Commission. "Free Credit Freezes Are Here." Equifax. "7 Things to Know About Fraud Alerts."