Consumers unfreeze credit reports temporarily or permanently by applying separately to each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, according to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The cost and time needed to unfreeze the reports vary according to state law and the individual credit reporting companies, states the Federal Trade Commission.Continue Reading
Consumers can request credit freezes to be lifted online, by phone or by mail, states Experian. Although files are normally unfrozen within a few minutes upon applying online or by phone, consumers should give notice at least three days before the need to conduct credit business. When credit reports are frozen, the credit company supplies a password or identification number that the consumer must supply along with other personal identification when the account is unfrozen. If the unfreezing is temporary, the consumer must specify the time period the report should remain open, or the person or company authorized to access the credit report. The other two credit reporting companies have similar policies concerning unfreezing credit reports, according to Equifax and TransUnion.
Some states do not allow credit freezes, while in other states they are only open to those who can prove that they have been victims of identity theft, as reported by Bankrate. In some states, if victims of identity theft provide police reports, the fee for freezing or unfreezing credit reports is waived, reports the Federal Trade Commission.Learn more about Credit & Lending