Individuals concerned about identity theft may want to freeze their credit reports to restrict access, making it more difficult for unauthorized persons to open new accounts, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Existing creditors, debt collectors and certain government agencies maintain access to frozen credit reports.
As of 2015, the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, freeze credit reports for fees ranging from $5 to $10, states the Federal Trade Commission. Consumers who wish to freeze reports must contact each company and provide name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. A credit freeze remains in effect until one requests a temporary lift or permanent removal. Freezing credit reports does not affect credit scores.