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Free credit freezes and fraud alerts - New September 2018

Free credit freezes (security freezes) and year-long fraud alerts are now the law.

How to set the new free credit freeze.

You can now set and lift credit freezes for free. Fraud alerts, also free, now last for one year instead of 90 days as they used to. These changes are effective September 21, 2018.

Credit freezes, also known as security freezes, restrict access to your personal credit file. This makes it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts using your identity. You can freeze and unfreeze your credit file for free. You also can do a free freeze for your children who are under 16. You can get a free freeze on behalf of a person if you are their guardian, conservator or have legal power of attorney.

How do the new freezes work? Contact the three nationwide credit reporting agencies Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (Google or go to websites). If you request a freeze online or by phone, the agency must place the freeze within one business day. If you request to lift the freeze, the credit bureaus must do it within one hour. If you request by mail, the agencies must place or lift the freeze within three business days after it receives your request. You also can lift the freeze temporarily without a fee (this is really useful if you want to apply for credit.)

Important: A credit freeze is NOT the same as a credit lock. They work in similar ways. However locks may have fees and are not governed by law. If you want a free freeze guaranteed by federal law, then choose a freeze, rather than a lock. In our opinion, if you get a lock as free with another service, it's worth using. A freeze is the way to go for the best protection.

TransUnion

https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze 
888-909-8872
TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Equifax 

https://www.freeze.equifax.com/
800-685-1111
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5788

Experian

https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
888-397-3742
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

How to use the new year-long fraud alerts

As of September 21, 2018, if you set a fraud alert, it will last one year, rather than 90 days. Fraud alerts will continue to be free. Victims of identity theft can still get a 7 year extended fraud alert. A fraud alert tells anyone that checks your credit that they should contact you before opening a new account. An alert does not mean that the credit bureaus actually send an alert to you. And it doesn't require that the business checking your credit contact you. In practice, most creditors and lenders will not extend credit if you have a fraud alert without contacting you first.

Military members will still have access to special active duty alerts. These let them place a fraud alert for one year, renewable for the time they are deployed. The active duty alert also requires that the credit reporting agencies take their name off their marketing lists for pre-screened offers of credit or insurance for two years.

To place a fraud alert or active duty alert visit the websites of any of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. You only need to contact ONE. The one you contact must notify the other two of the alert.

Category: Consumer Tips, Identity Theft News
Posted on September 21, 2018 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Posted on September 20, 2018 at 08:51 AM | Permalink