WPF Resource Page: State Security Freeze Laws and General Information

 

What is a security freeze?

A credit freeze (sometimes called a security freeze) lets you stop the disclosure of your credit report by a credit bureau. Currently, the three credit bureaus are allowing all consumers nationwide to set a security freeze for a fee. Some states have specific security freeze laws; a list of states with security freeze laws may be found below. However, even if you live in a state without a security freeze law, you can still set a security freeze.

The result of a credit freeze should be that neither you nor anyone else can open a new credit account in your name. (A freeze will not stop your existing credit cards from working.) A credit freeze can also prevent insurance companies or employers from obtaining your credit data. That’s why if you are actively seeking new employment or insurance, you may want to think carefully about enacting a credit freeze unless you are currently a victim of identity theft.

A credit freeze can be especially helpful to individuals who are having persistent problems with identity theft. Credit freeze is not for everyone, and not everyone has the right at this point to set a credit freeze.

How does a security freeze work?

The way a credit freeze works is that access to your consumer credit report and your credit score are locked when you put a freeze on the files. A lender or merchant will normally not issue new credit if it cannot access your credit report or score. The benefit of a freeze is that you can stop thieves from getting credit in your name. The downside is that you are also stopped from getting credit unless you “thaw” the freeze. You can unlock your security freeze by using a PIN to unlock access to the credit file. Some states require the “thaw” to take no longer than 15 minutes. Some allow longer times.

Who can place a security freeze?

Up until November 1, 2007, the ability to freeze your credit was granted only by state law, and was available only in those states that had passed credit freeze laws. However, as of November 1, 2007, the three credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian — began allowing consumers in all states set a security freeze regardless of state law. However, if your state law entitles you to a lower fee, that will remain in place.

How to place a credit freeze:

First, find out if you live in a state with a specific security freeze law. (See the list below). Some states allow for low cost or free credit freezes. If you do not live in a state with a credit freeze law, you may still place a credit freeze by checking with the three credit reporting bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

For further information and more details about how each state manages security freezes, click the See links under each state. Often, the Attorney General’s office will have a tip sheet that is helpful. If not, you can contact your state Attorney General’s office for more information.

Note: There is some variability between the state security freeze laws. To see the state laws, click the State law links under each state. If you would like more detailed background information about security freezes, see the More About Security Freezes section of this page (bottom of the page). If you find a stale link, please let us know.

Credit Reporting Bureau Freeze Information:

  • Experian (See the How to Request a Security Freeze heading; use the pull-down menu to select your state.)

 

State -by- State Security Freeze Information

The World Privacy Forum strongly recommends that before placing a credit freeze, that you check with the three credit reporting bureaus to ensure that you are submitting the correct documents and information to them.

Alabama

State law: No state security freeze law at this time.
See: Credit Reporting Bureau information for setting a security freeze:

Equifax
Experian
TransUnion

Alaska

State law: Yes.
See: Alaska’s security freeze law.
See: http://www.law.state.ak.us/department/civil/consumer/4548.html

Arizona

State law: Yes.
See: Arizona’s security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.azag.gov/consumer/SecurityFreeze/

Arkansas

State law: Yes.
See: Arkansas’ security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://ag.arkansas.gov/identity_theft_ar_security_freeze.html

California

State law: Yes.
See: California’s security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.privacy.ca.gov/sheets/cis10securityfreeze.htm.

Colorado

State law: Yes.
See: Colorado’s security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.ago.state.co.us/idtheft/securityfreeze.cfm .

Connecticut

State law: Yes.
See: Connecticut’s security freeze law.
For more information, see: See the Consumer’s Union page: http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/learn_more/003484indiv.html
Or see the Connecticut Attorney General’s web site: http://www.ct.gov/ag/cwp/browse.asp?a=2066&agNav=|42277|

Delaware

State law: Yes.
See: Delaware’s security freeze law.
For more information, see: The Attorney General’s brochure located at http://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov and http://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov

District of Columbia

District of Columbia law: Yes.
See: Washington DC security freeze law.
For more information, see: The District of Columbia does not have an official state page for security freeze that we could find. See the Consumer’s Union page instead: http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/learn_more/003484indiv.html or see the District of Columbia’s Attorney General’s web site: http://oag.dc.gov/occ/site/default.asp

Florida

State law: Yes.
See: Florida security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.800helpfla.com/scams/securityfreeze.html

Georgia

State law: Yes.
See: Georgia’s security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://law.ga.gov/00/channel_title/0,2094,87670814_118386486,00.html

Hawaii

State law: Yes.
See: Hawaii security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.hawaii.gov/dcca/quicklinks/id_theft_info/new_security_freeze

Idaho

State law: Yes.
See: Idaho security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www2.state.id.us/ag/consumer/tips/creditreportfreeze.htm

Illinois

State law: Yes.
See: Illinois security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov

Indiana

State law: Yes.
See: Indiana security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral

Iowa

State law: Yes.
See: Iowa security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/consumer_advisories/credit_finance/Freezing_your_Credit_Report.html

Kansas

State law: Yes.
See: Kansas security freeze law.
For more information, see: Kansas ID Theft Repair Kit Or see the Kansas Attorney General’s web site: http://www.ksag.org/home/
Or see Consumer’s Union’s instructions: http://www.consumersunion.org/pdf/security/securityKS.pdf.

Kentucky

State law: Yes.
See: Kentucky security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://ag.ky.gov/consumer/securityfreeze.htm

Louisiana

State law: Yes.
See: Louisiana security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.ag.louisiana.gov

Maine

State law: Yes.
See: Maine security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/ Scroll down to security freeze sections.

Maryland

State law: Yes.
See: Maryland security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://marypirg.org/MD.asp

Massachusetts

State law: Yes.
See: Massachusetts security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.mass.gov/ In the search box, type security freeze. There are a number of materials.

Michigan

State law: No state security freeze law at this time.
See: Credit Reporting Bureau information for setting a security freeze:

Equifax
Experian
TransUnion

Minnesota

State law: Yes.
See: Minnesota security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Consumer/YLR/FreezeLaw.asp

Mississippi

State law: Yes.
See: Mississippi security freeze law.
For more information, see: Mississippi does not have an official state page for security freeze that we could find. See the Consumer’s Union page instead: www.consumersunion.org/SecurityFreeze.htm, click on Mississippi. Or see the Mississippi Attorney General’s web site: http://www.ago.state.ms.us/

Missouri

State law: No state security freeze law at this time.
See: Credit Reporting Bureau information for setting a security freeze:

Equifax
Experian
TransUnion

Montana

State law: Yes.
See: Montana security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.doj.mt.gov/consumer/consumer/securityfreeze.asp

Nebraska

State law: Yes.
See: Nebraska security freeze law.
See: Credit Reporting Bureau information for setting a security freeze:

Equifax
Experian
TransUnion

For more information, see: http://www.ago.state.ne.us.

Nevada

State law: Yes.
See: Nevada security freeze law.
See: http://ag.state.nv.us/ Scroll to see information on credit freeze.

New Hampshire

State law: Yes.
See: New Hampshire security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/credit_freeze.html

New Jersey

State law: Yes.
See: New Jersey security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/brief/securityfreeze.pdf

New Mexico

State law: Yes.
See: New Mexico security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.ago.state.nm.us

New York
State law: Yes.
See: New York security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/crime/security%20freeze.pdf

North Carolina
State law: Yes.
See: North Carolina security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.ncdoj.com/Protect-Yourself/2-4-3-Protect-Your-Identity/Protect-Yourself/Freeze-Your-Credit.aspx

North Dakota

State law: Yes.
See: North Dakota security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.ag.state.nd.us

Ohio

State law: Yes.
See: Ohio security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/SpeakOutOhio/Blog/October-2009/Six-steps-to-stop-identity-thieves
Or See the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s page on Ohio security freeze: http://www.cleveland.com/consumeraffairs/index.ssf/2009/03/if_your_personal_information_h.html
See also: Credit Reporting Bureau information for setting a security freeze:

Equifax
Experian
TransUnion

Oklahoma

State law: Yes.
See: Oklahoma security freeze law.
To read the bill, go to the web site, click on Basic Search Form, enter <sb1748> in the Measure Number box, select 2006 regular session from the Session menu, and click enter. The bill text will be a pop up file.
For more information, see: See the Consumer’s Union page: www.consumersunion.org/SecurityFreeze.htm, click on Oklahoma.
Or see the Oklahoma Attorney General’s web site: http://www.oag.state.ok.us/

Oregon

State law: Yes.
See: Oregon security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.doj.state.or.us/finfraud/idtheft.shtml

Pennsylvania

State law: Yes.
See: Pennsylvania security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/consumers.aspx?id=2085

Rhode Island

State law: Yes.
See: Rhode Island security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.riag.ri.gov

South Carolina

State law: Yes.
See: South Carolina security freeze law.
For more information, see: Credit Reporting Bureau information for setting a security freeze:

Equifax
Explain
TransUnion

South Dakota

State law: Yes.
See: South Dakota security freeze law.
For more information, see: General identity theft page: http://www.state.sd.us/attorney/office/divisions/consumer/idtheft/Default.asp.
See also the Consumer’s Union page: www.consumersunion.org/SecurityFreeze.htm, click on South Dakota.

Tennessee

State law: Yes.
See: Tennessee security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.attorneygeneral.state.tn.us.

Texas

State law: Yes.
See: Texas security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/notice/042806ut_faq.shtml#shoulddo

Utah

State law: Yes.
See: Utah security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov

Vermont

State law: Yes.
See: Vermont security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.atg.state.vt.us/display.php?smod=198 and http://www.atg.state.vt.us

Virginia

State law: Yes.
See: Virginia security freeze law.
(Note: this link does not always pull up correctly. If the link does not open, click on the link below, which will take you to an informational page about Virginia’s security freeze law.)
For more information, see: http://www.oag.state.va.us/FAQs/FAQ_CR_Security_Freeze.html

Washington
State law: Yes.
See: Washington security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.atg.wa.gov/ConsumerIssues/ID-Privacy/SecurityFreeze.aspx

West Virginia

State law: Yes.
See: West Virginia security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.wvago.gov/consumers.cfm?fx=savy&savy=3

Wisconsin

State law: Yes.
See: Wisconsin security freeze law.
For more information, see: http://www.privacy.wi.gov/securityfreeze/securityfreeze.jsp

Wyoming

State law: Yes.
See: Wyoming security freeze law.
For more information, see: Wyoming does not have an official state page for security freeze that we could find. See the Consumer’s Union page instead: www.consumersunion.org/SecurityFreeze.htm, click on Wyoming.
Or see the Wyoming Attorney General’s web site: http://attorneygeneral.state.wy.us/

 

More information about security freeze:

  • See California Office of Privacy Protection. Even if you don’t live in California, this is an excellent page to learn more about how credit freeze works. If you are a California resident, you will find sample letters ready for you to print out. http://www.privacy.ca.gov/sheets/cis10securityfreeze.htm

This page is not legal advice, and should not be used in lieu of legal advice.

Updated October 22, 2009; May 7, 2009; July 12, 2008 ; November 5, 2007. Originally posted July 22, 2007.