Security Freeze is a notice placed in a consumer report that prohibits a consumer reporting agency, such as a credit bureau, from releasing the consumer report, credit score, or any information contained within the consumer report to a third party without the express authorization of the consumer.
Florida House Bill No. 37 passed in July 2006 provides that any Florida consumer may place a Security Freeze on his or her consumer report by making a request in writing by certified mail to a consumer reporting agency providing information that properly identifies the consumer and paying a $10.00 fee. The initial fee is waived for persons of 65 years or age or older and persons who are victim of identity theft.
The Florida House has put teeth to this law. If the following provisions are not adhered to, the offending consumer-reporting agency cannot do business in the State of Florida.
- Place a Security Freeze on a consumer report no later than 5 business days after receiving a request from the consumer.
- Send a written confirmation within 10 business days after instituting the Security Freeze and shall provide the consumer with a direct phone number and a unique personal identification number or password to be used by the consumer when providing authorization for the temporary or permanent removal of a Security Freeze on his or her consumer report.
Security Freeze Instructions
There are three major credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. All three credit bureaus should be contacted.
Consumer Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740256
Altanta, GA 30374
Fraud Victim Assist. Dept.
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
Nat. Consumer Assist.
P.O. Box 9530
Allen, TX 75013
- Fill out a letter for both you and your souse/significant other providing the requested information.
- The application fees for all states can be found by going to FinancilaPtivacyNow.org.
- Be sure that all letters are signed.
- Address the envelope and send it certified mail with both letters in the same envelope if you have souse or significant other.
- Repeat this procedure for all credit bureaus.
Each credit bureau will send you a confirmation within 10 business days that your credit file and that of your souse/significant other, if applicable, has been frozen. It will include a phone number and a pin number for each of you, usually 10 digits long that are required to “unfreeze” your file temporarily or permanently. File this letter in a safe place.
When you do something that requires the credit bureau to access your credit information such as making a large purchase on credit, applying for a credit card, applying for a loan etc., you will need to call the appropriate credit bureau to unfreeze and then refreeze your credit file. The phone numbers are on the letter with your pin number.
You can also go to www.annualcreditreport.com which will provide one free credit report, per credit bureau agency, per year, with subsequent credit reports available at a nominal fee.
Sample Letter to Credit Bureaus
Name of Credit Bureau
City, State, Zip
Dear (name of credit bureau),
I would like to place a security freeze on my credit file.
My name is:
My former name was (if applies):
My current address is:
My address has changed in the past 5 years. My former address was:
My social security number is:
My date of birth is:
I have enclosed photocopies of a government issued identity card AND proof of residence such as a utility bill.
Circle one of the following:
I have included the required fee to place a security freeze on my credit file
I am a senior (at least 65 years old) and the fee does not apply to me.
I am an identity theft victim and a copy of my police report or other investigative report or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft is enclosed.
The Credit bureaus sell your information to banks, mortgage companies, etc. These companies, in turn, send you all kinds of annoying offers for pre-approved credit cards, insurance, and much more. Here’s how to stop all four credit bureaus from selling your private information.
Follow the directions. Be sure to do this for all members of your household.
- Stay Safe Online – Citigroup offers a method to get a one time use credit card number called a virtual number It is free and easy to use with many of their credit cards.
- Get on the Florida No Call list to keep telemarketers based in Florida from calling you. The cost is $5.00 per year. Call 1-800-helpfla (1-800-435-7352) Ask about the Florida no call list.
For a comprehensive discussion of Identity Theft i.e.; credit, debit or ATM theft, mail theft, theft of Social Security number, income tax refund theft, as well as a discussion of prevention and how to resolve the issue of your identity being stolen, go to the Federal Trade Commission web site and download “Taking Charge.” This document will also discuss how to reduce your risk of ID theft and sample letters and forms you will need to resolve the theft of your identity.
PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT