Identity theft is on the rise, which means it’s more important than ever to protect your sensitive personal information from fraud. Research firm Javelin Strategy & Research reported that there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2017 alone – a record high!
One way you can protect your information from fraudsters is through a credit freeze. The Federal Trade Commission explains that a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, helps protect consumers against identity theft by making it difficult to fraudulently open accounts under your name. Most lenders check your credit before opening a new account so a freeze would prevent them from seeing your credit report.
Thanks to a bill that Congress passed on May 24, 2018, consumers will soon be able to freeze their credit reports for free.
The New York Times reports that the new law will “allow consumers to ‘freeze’ their credit files at the three major credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — without charge. Consumers can also ‘thaw’ their files, temporarily or permanently, without a fee.”
The current cost to freeze credit ranges from $5 to $10 at each of the credit bureaus. The new law will likely take effect around mid-September.
If you’d like to place a temporary or permanent security freeze on your credit files, you will need to contact each of the credit bureaus separately:
- Equifax – visit their website or call 800.685.1111
- Experian – visit their website or call 888.397.3742
- TransUnion – visit their website
If you have any questions or concerns about identity theft, please contact us at 888.723.7328 or send us a secure Message through Online or Mobile Banking.