Keeping It Safe: Credit Freezes Get More Chill

A major tool in combatting identity fraud just got cheaper.

In fact, credit freezes are now totally free.

Consumers victimized by identity fraud have long had the option of “freezing” their credit by contacting the big three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and telling them to restrict access to their credit file.

That stopped anyone new from opening credit in your name.

Read our earlier article on identify fraud, credit alerts, and credit freezes: “Equifax Breach: What To Do Now?”

The thing is, those credit agencies often charged you every time you froze or unfroze your credit file, making it both time-consuming and expensive to control your own credit information.

That has now changed. Federal law now makes it free to freeze or unfreeze your credit, and sets strict timelines on the credit agencies to comply with your requests to do so.

The Takeaway:

  • Credit freezes are still considered the “nuclear option” of addressing identity hacks, but for some affected consumers, they’re unfortunately necessary.
  • To implement a freeze, you’ll need to contact all three credit bureaus, or visit the FTC’s special site on identity theft and recovery.
  • Keep in mind, however, that a credit freeze won’t solve all your credit woes. It won’t affect any already existing identity theft cases or disputes with the IRS over fraudulent tax returns.
  • If you don’t freeze your credit, make sure to regularly monitor your credit score, and check with the three credit bureaus once per year to verify the information on file.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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