3rd Quarter 2018

New Law Makes Credit Freezes Free

One way to protect yourself from identity theft is to freeze your credit record, which prevents new creditors from reviewing your credit report and makes it harder for identity thieves to take out credit in your name. But until recently, credit freezes could be costly. In some states, each credit bureau could charge $5 to $10 to freeze your credit and another $5 to $10 per bureau to lift the freeze if you wanted to apply for a loan. You then needed to multiply those costs by three, because you need to freeze your credit record at all three credit bureaus for it to be effective. But a new law made credit freezes free in every state starting Sept. 21.

To freeze your credit record, you'll need to go to each of the three major credit bureaus — Experian.com, Equifax.com, and TransUnion.com. If you want to apply for a loan — or even if you apply for an apartment or cell phone - you'll usually have to lift the freeze temporarily, which is also free under the new law.

For more information, see Credit Freeze FAQs at www.ftc.gov. Your state attorney general's office can let you know if your state offers additional consumer protections.

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