Freeze Your Credit

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Identity theft is one of the fastest growing financial crimes.

Nearly 10 million Americans fall victim each year. The Identity Theft Resource Center reported in 2005, on average, an ID theft victim of new account and other fraud spent 60 hours resolving problems brought on by ID theft, those victims of existing accounts spent an average of 15 hours resolving problems. A 2003 Federal Trade Commission study found that identity theft also costs U.S. businesses nearly $48 billion annually, and consumers an additional $5 billion per year.

A security freeze lets consumers stop thieves from getting credit in their names.

A security freeze locks, or freezes, access to the consumer credit report and credit score. Without this information, a business will not issue new credit to a thief. When the consumer wants to get new credit, he or she uses a PIN to unlock access to the credit file. These states give consumers this important weapon to prevent identity theft:

Consumers Union’s Guide to State Security Freeze Laws

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

If your state is not listed, your state legislature has not yet provided you with the option of a security freeze.
Take action and tell your legislators you want a security freeze now!


Arkansas
Eligibility: Identity theft victims
Fees: $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether
Effective date of law: January 1, 2008
Copy of Arkansas’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Arkansas’ security freeze law

California

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift or remove the freeze; $12 fee to temporarily lift the freeze for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2003
Copy of California’s security freeze law
Instructions for using California’s security freeze law

Colorado

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for the first freeze; $10 to lift the freeze temporarily, or to remove it altogether. $12 to temporarily lift the freeze for a specific creditor. $10 to place a second freeze.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Copy of Colorado’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Colorado’s security freeze law from the Colorado Attorney General
Instructions for using Colorado’s security freeze law

Connecticut

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether; $12 to lift it temporarily for a specific creditor
Effective date of law: January 1, 2006
Copy of Connecticut’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Connecticut’s security freeze law

Delaware

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $20 to place the freeze, but no fees to lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: September 28, 2006
Copy of Delaware’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Delaware’s security freeze law

District of Columbia

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, but no fees to lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Copy of the District of Columbia’s security freeze law
Instructions for using the District of Columbia’s security freeze law

Florida

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Copy of Florida’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Florida’s security freeze law

Hawaii

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: Original law limited to identity theft victims was effective January 1, 2007. All consumers became eligible for the security freeze on June 15, 2007.
Copy of Hawaii’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Hawaii’s security freeze law

Illinois

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with police reports and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay a $10 fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Copy of Illinois’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Illinois’ security freeze law

Indiana

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: September 1, 2007
Copy of Indiana’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Indiana’s security freeze law

Kansas

Eligibility: Identity theft victims only
Fees: No fees permitted.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Copy of Kansas’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Kansas’ security freeze law

Kentucky

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide a police report. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. $10 to have PIN reissued.
Effective date of law: July 11, 2006
Note: Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement.
Copy of Kentucky’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Kentucky’s security freeze law

Louisiana

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or person aged 62 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, or $8 to lift it temporarily. No fee to remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2005
Copy of Louisiana’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Louisiana’s security freeze law

Maine

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide a police report. All others pay up to $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. $10 to have PIN reissued, and $12 to lift the freeze temporarily for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: February 1, 2006
Copy of Maine’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Maine’s security freeze law

Maryland

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide report of alleged identity fraud or with an identity theft passport. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2008
Copy of Maryland’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Maryland’s security freeze law
Massachusetts

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims or victim’s spouse. $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether
Effective date of law: February 3, 2008
Copy of Massachusetts’ security freeze law
Instructions for using Massachusetts’ security freeze law

Minnesota

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who provide police report. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: August 1, 2006
Copy of Minnesota’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Minnesota’s security freeze law

Mississippi

Eligibility: Identity theft victims with a police report, investigative report or complaint filed with a law enforcement agency.
Fees: $10 to place a freeze
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Copy of Mississippi’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Mississippi’s security freeze law

Montana

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $3 to place the freeze or to lift it temporarily. $5 to have PIN reissued. No fee to remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Copy of Montana’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Montana’s security freeze law from Montana’s Department of Justice
Instructions for using Montana’s security freeze law

Nebraska

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims and minors. All others pay a one time $15 fee to place the freeze. No fee for lifting the freeze temporarily or removing it altogether.
Effective: September 1, 2007
Note: Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement.
Copy of Nebraska’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Nebraska’s security freeze law

Nevada

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who submit a police report. All others pay $15 to place the freeze, $18 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether. $20 to lift it temporarily for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: October 1, 2005
Copy of Nevada’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Nevada’s security freeze law

New Hampshire

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims who submit a copy of a police report, investigative
report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of the law: January 1, 2007
Copy of New Hampshire’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New Hampshire’s security freeze law

New Jersey

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee to place the first security freeze. $5 fee to lift the freeze temporarily, remove it altogether, or to have PIN reissued.
Note: Consumers are also permitted to make such requests directly to consumer reporting
agencies via secured electronic mail.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2006
Copy of New Jersey’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New Jersey’s security freeze law from NJ’s Dept of Banking and Insurance

New Mexico

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with a copy of police or investigative report
and for residents over 65 years of age. All others pay $10 to place a freeze and $5 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Copy of New Mexico’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New Mexico’s security freeze law

New York

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others can place the freeze for free the first time it is used. These consumers pay $5 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether. If they wish to re-start the freeze after it is removed, they pay a $5 fee.
Effective date of law: November 1, 2006
Copy of New York’s security freeze law
Instructions for using New York’s security freeze law

North Carolina

Eligibility: All Consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with a valid report or complaint with a law enforcement agency. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: December 1, 2005
Copy of North Carolina’s security freeze law
Instructions for using North Carolina’s security freeze law from NC’s Attorney General

North Dakota

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with valid copy of a police report or police case number documenting the investigative report or complaint to law enforcement agency. All others pay $5 to place or lift the freeze. No fee for removing freeze.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Copy of North Dakota’s security freeze law
Instructions for using North Dakota’s security freeze law
Oklahoma

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims with investigative report or for seniors aged 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Copy of Oklahoma’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Oklahoma’s security freeze law
Oregon
Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for identity theft victims. $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether
Effective date of law: October 1, 2007
Copy of Oregon’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Oregon’s security freeze law

Pennsylvania

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze or to lift it temporarily. No fee to remove the freeze.
Note: Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Copy of Pennsylvania’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Pennsylvania’s security freeze law

Rhode Island

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Copy of Rhode Island’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Rhode Island’s security freeze law
South Dakota

Eligibility: Identity theft victims with a valid police report
Fees: No fees.
Note: Only freezes credit report and automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Copy of South Dakota’s security freeze law
Instructions for using South Dakota’s security freeze law

Tennessee

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $7.50 to place the freeze, no fee to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether.
Effective date of the law: January 1, 2008
Copy of Tennessee’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Tennessee’s security freeze law

Texas

Eligibility: Currently only identity theft victims with a police report. Beginning September 1, 2007, the law will apply to all consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. Beginning September 1, 2007, all other consumers pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or to remove it altogether. $12 to lift the freeze temporarily for a specific creditor.
Effective date of law: September 1, 2003 for identity theft victims; September 1, 2007 for all consumers
Copy of Texas’ security freeze law (recent expansion law)
Instructions for using Texas’ security freeze law
NOTE: The current summary for Texas online is for the expanded version of the law, which does not go into effect until September 1, 2007.

Utah

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: Utah’s law allows credit bureaus to charge “reasonable fees,” without specifying the amount that can be charged.
Note: Consumers will be able to temporarily lift or “thaw” the freeze within 15 minutes of electronic request
Effective date of law: September 1, 2008
Copy of Utah’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Utah’s security freeze law

Vermont

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2006
Copy of Vermont’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Vermont’s security freeze law from VT’s Attorney General

Washington

Eligibility: Currently applies to identity theft victims, including persons who receive a notice of a security breach of computerized personal information. Beginning September 1, 2008, all consumers will be eligible for the freeze.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 years and older. Once all other consumers become eligible in September 2008, they will pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of law: July 24, 2005 for identity theft victims; September 1, 2008 for all consumers
Copy of Washington’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Washington’s security freeze law from WA’s Attorney General

West Virginia

Eligibility: All consumers.
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Effective date of the law: July 2, 2007
Copy of West Virginia’s security freeze law
Instructions for using West Virginia’s security freeze law

Wisconsin

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fee for an “individual who submits evidence satisfactory to the CRAs that the individual made a report to a law enforcement agency.” All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the freeze altogether.
Effective date of law: January 1, 2007
Copy of Wisconsin’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Wisconsin’s security freeze law

Wyoming

Eligibility: All consumers
Fees: No fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
Note: Requires electronic and telephone methods to lift, imposes the 15 minute lift timeframe starting September 1, 2008.
Effective date of law: July 1, 2007
Copy of Wyoming’s security freeze law
Instructions for using Wyoming’s security freeze law

For more information on security freezes, see the Consumers Union/U.S. PIRG Model State Clean Credit and Identity Theft Protection Act.


Updated July 5, 2007

Consumers Union

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