How to Freeze Your Credit for Free
Want To Avoid Identity Theft? Find Out How To Freeze Your Credit For Free
The question of “Why should I freeze my credit?” has been asked of me quite a few times lately since the enactment of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. This law which went in effect late September 2018 is mainly known for loosening restrictions placed on banks but also adds a layer of protection for consumers.
You may recall the Equifax Cyberattack where hackers were able to gain access to personal information for more than 143 million Americans. This included names, addresses, social security numbers, birthdates and driver's license numbers. Some credit card numbers were also compromised.
After the hack, consumers were all looking for ways to freeze their credit. That’s when everyone found out that it costs money, up to $10.00 to freeze your credit as well as to release it, for each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
However, this new law makes it mandatory for the three credit reporting agencies to allow consumers to freeze their credit as well as release the freeze at any time free of charge.
What Exactly is a Credit Freeze?
A credit freeze is when you instruct any one of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) to not release your credit information to any third party that requests it. This could be a financial institution, loan company, credit card company, insurance company or even a property management company or landlord (if you’re looking for an apartment). Each of the credit bureaus will have to get your express consent for them to release it to the third party.
How Can You be Protected by a Credit Freeze?
If an unauthorized person steals your identity and tries to open a credit card or get a loan, the credit company will not be able to pull your credit report and therefore the thief would immediately be stopped from opening any new accounts with your identity.
With the rise in hacking attacks on large corporations and even credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, you cannot be cautious enough in protecting your own identity because possible compromises are beyond your control. One sure way to protect yourself is to put a freeze on your credit report. Read More…