Security Freeze Law and Legal Definition

Security freeze means a notice placed in the consumer credit report relating to a consumer. Security freeze prohibits the consumer credit reporting agency from releasing the consumer credit report and also the contents of such report of the consumer.

In the U.S., 47 states have enacted laws requiring the credit bureaus to enable consumers to protect their credit files with a security freeze. When a security freeze is in place, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file. When the consumer is applying for credit, s/he can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed.

The following is an example of the state statute (Washington)defining security freeze:

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 19.182.170 states that "Security freeze" means a prohibition, consistent with this section, on a consumer reporting agency's furnishing of a consumer's credit report to a third party intending to use the credit report to determine the consumer's eligibility for credit. If a security freeze is in place, information from a consumer's credit report may not be released to a third party without prior express authorization from the consumer.