Unfreezing Your Credit File when You’ve Lost Your PIN – Equifax, Experian & TransUnion

Security lock atop credit cards and computer keyboardIdentity theft affects millions of individuals each and every year, and experts suggest that the number of cyber attacks will continue to rise in the upcoming years. As cyber criminals get savvier in their methods, consumers can and should take certain steps to safeguard their personal information found online. When the need for new credit is not pressing, a credit freeze can serve as a weapon against identity theft.

A credit freeze is the process of denying access to your credit report and score through one or more of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Any time new credit is applied for, a lender or creditor requests to review an individual’s credit file from any of the three credit reporting agencies to ensure the borrower has a strong track record of on-time payments, responsible use of available credit, and no negative issues like bankruptcy or a court judgment. When a credit freeze is in place, the consumer’s credit file is not available for viewing, meaning creditors cannot establish a new account. This protects individuals from having their personal information used to open a new credit card, take out a loan, or borrow money in some other shape or form.

Placing a credit freeze follows a relatively similar path for each of the three major credit bureaus. But each agency requires that individuals placing a credit freeze on their credit report establish a PIN (one PIN for each agency), or a personal identification number, as an added security measure. With all the passwords and PINs we have to remember to access our bank account information, e-mail, or social media accounts, losing a credit freeze PIN is all too common. Here’s what to do if you’ve lost it and need to unfreeze your credit report.

Credit Bureau Breakdown for Lost PIN

Each credit bureau has a different process for retrieving a lost PIN, or unfreezing your credit report without the original PIN you established at the time your credit report was frozen.

Equifax

When you need to unfreeze your credit report but can’t remember or locate your PIN with Equifax, you can request a new PIN in writing. Equifax requires that you include a letter explaining you lost your PIN, proof of identification such as a driver’s license copy, and the fee associated with a lost PIN retrieval for your specific state. Requests should be sent to:

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348

TransUnion

To retrieve a lost PIN for a TransUnion credit file security freeze, you will need to do one of two things. First, call 1-888-909-8872 to request your credit report freeze be lifted. If you mention you do not have access to your PIN, you will be prompted to answer several identifying questions related to your credit history. Alternatively, you may request a replacement PIN via regular mail, which should include a letter identifying your need and a copy of your driver’s license or other photo ID. Currently, TransUnion does not assess a fee for a PIN replacement. The written request should be sent to:

TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, Pennsylvania 19016

Experian

To request a replacement PIN for unfreezing your credit report with Experian, you may visit the Security Freeze Center on the company’s website. Here, a PIN reminder can be requested after other identifying information is submitted. Alternatively, a lost PIN can be retrieved by calling Experian at 1-888-397-3742. In either scenario, a new PIN will be issued via regular mail.

Although it may take more time to lift a security freeze on your credit report when a PIN is lost, it is still possible to complete the removal process. Be sure to understand what each credit bureau requires to retrieve a lost PIN, and contact the company directly for further instructions.

Posted on September 15, 2017 by in Credit Monitoring

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