How to Unfreeze Your Credit
- Why is my credit frozen?
- How do I unfreeze my credit?
If you’re looking to unfreeze your credit, there are a few things you’ll need to do. Follow our simple guide and you’ll be on your way in no time.
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Why is my credit frozen?
Your credit may be frozen for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is if you are trying to open a new line of credit, and the lender sees that you have been frozen by another lender. This is often done to prevent identity theft. If you have been a victim of identity theft, your credit may also be frozen.
You placed a fraud alert on your credit report
When you place a fraud alert in your credit file, businesses must verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name. Operation of law also may require businesses to verify your identity before extending certain types of credit.
If you place a fraud alert with one credit reporting company, that company will notify the others. Once they receive the warning, they also must place a fraud alert in your file.
Placing a fraud alert is free, and experts say it can help thwart identity theft. (You also have the option of placing a more powerful extended fraud alert or credit freeze on your report.) But it’s not a perfect solution because:
It won’t stop a thief from making charges to any existing accounts you have. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening new accounts in your name. And if you’re concerned about debt collectors harassing you for debts that aren’t yours, putting an initial fraud alert or extended fraud alert in your file should stop them from contacting you until they verify that the debt is actually yours. (A credit freeze does not stop debt collectors.)
A fraud alert expires after 90 days unless you renew it. So if you still feel vulnerable to identity theft after 90 days, you’ll need to renew the alert by contacting the credit reporting companies again.
You’re a victim of identity theft
Your credit could be frozen because you might be a victim of identity theft. As soon as you realize your personal information has been compromised, take steps to secure your accounts and protect your credit file.
Contact the credit reporting company (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to place a fraud alert on your credit file. This will warn creditors that they should verify your identity before granting you new credit.
Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
File a police report, and get a copy to send to your creditors if they require it.
Identity theft can be a complex and frustrating crime, but taking quick action can help limit the damage. By placing a fraud alert on your credit file, you can make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name. And by closing tampered-with accounts and filing a police report, you can help clear your name and prevent further damage to your credit file.
You have unpaid taxes
If you have unpaid taxes, the IRS may place a freeze on your credit. This is called a levy, and it’s basically the government’s way of collecting the money you owe them. In order to unfreeze your credit, you’ll need to pay off the taxes you owe, plus any interest and penalties. You can do this by setting up a payment plan with the IRS, or by paying the full amount all at once. Once you’ve paid off your taxes, the IRS will remove the levy and your credit will be unfrozen.
You have unpaid child support
If you have unpaid child support, your credit may be frozen. To unfreeze it, you’ll need to pay the full amount of child support that you owe. You can also set up a payment plan with the child support office in your state. Once you’ve paid off your debt, or set up a payment plan, you can ask the child support office to unfreeze your credit.
How do I unfreeze my credit?
If you’ve ever had your credit frozen, you know it can be a hassle. Maybe you applied for a new credit card and were denied because your credit was frozen. Or you tried to get a loan for a new car and were told your credit needed to be unfrozen first. Here’s how to unfreeze your credit so you can get back to business as usual.
Request a credit freeze removal from the credit bureau
If you want to unfreeze your credit, you’ll need to contact the credit bureau or bureaus that you froze your credit with and request a credit freeze removal. You can typically do this online, over the phone, or via mail. Be prepared to provide some personal information, like your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number, to verify your identity.
Pay the outstanding balance
The first thing you need to do is pay the outstanding balance on any accounts that are in collections or have been charged off. Once you do this, your credit score will start to improve. You may also want to negotiate with the collection agency to have the debt removed from your credit report.
Place a fraud alert on your credit report
You can place a fraud alert on your credit report if you believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft. This will warn creditors that they should take extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit in your name.
To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. You only need to contact one of the agencies; they will share your request with the other two.
You will need to provide some basic information, including your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. You may also be asked to provide proof of your identity, such as a copy of your driver’s license or passport.
Once you have placed a fraud alert on your credit report, you are entitled to free copies of your report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can use these copies to check for fraudulent activity in your account.
File a police report
If you believe your personal information has been used to commit fraud, you should file a police report. This is the first step in getting an extended fraud alert placed on your credit report.
You’ll need to provide the credit reporting agency with a copy of the police report. The agency will then place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. This alert lasts for seven years and makes it more difficult for someone to open new accounts in your name.