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Free Credit Freeze

There is good news for those of us looking for stronger ways to protect our credit. A new law just went into effect that will provide consumers across the U.S. with a free tool to help protect against identity theft. Now Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three major credit reporting bureaus, must provide extended fraud alerts and free credit freezes for anyone who requests them. Previously, the cost of such freezes varied by state.
 
A credit freeze helps fight against identity theft by restricting access to your credit file and making it more difficult for potential identity thieves to open accounts in your name.
 
The path to a credit freeze involves informing all three major credit bureaus that you’d like a credit freeze. Each bureau will ask you to answer several questions to validate your identity, and you'll get a PIN code that you can use to freeze and unfreeze your credit report, as needed. If you forget your PIN, you'll need to contact the bureau to verify your identity and reset your account access with a new PIN.
 
It's important to note that people applying for new credit cards, loans, and other transactions, must lift their freezes with the PIN provided by the credit bureau. It’s important to keep track of your pin. Without the PIN your loan and credit applications could be delayed.
 
The law also extends the period for fraud alerts, which have always been free and remain so.  It used to be credit bureaus only had to provide fraud alerts for 90 days. That is now extended to a full year. For more information read this article from the Federal Trade Commission

Links to freeze your credit:
Experian
Equifax
TransUnion

 


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