Friday, September 28, 2018

Credit Freezes Are Now Free!

Pathways Advisory Group

Just over a year ago, Equifax experienced a data breach affecting the private information of over 140 million people.  In a blog post responding to the breach, we highlighted a few ways to protect yourself from potential use of your information. One of the most useful methods is placing a freeze on your credit. A freeze restricts access to your credit file, minimizing the risk of new credit being established with your identity. One of the drawbacks of a freeze, however, was the fee required to not only initially apply the freeze but also each time you lifted and reapplied it.

One year later, thanks to a new federal law, we have a remedy for that pesky fee. Starting September 21st, credit freezes (and unfreezes) are now free of cost! You can now apply or lift a freeze with all three of the nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion without the unnecessary charges . This can be done by mail, by phone, or online. Once established, a freeze can be lifted entirely, for a period of time, or to provide access to a specific entity.

In addition, if you’ve applied a fraud alert to your credit file, they are now extended to one year instead of 90 days. They are still free, and victims of identity theft can still get an extended alert for seven years.

With all of the risks we seem to face when it comes to protecting our identity, it’s good to know one helpful tool was made a lot easier to use.  

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