Q: My friend was telling me she heard about a new law that was passed recently regarding being able to freeze your credit report for free. She didn’t have much detail, as she heard it from her friend. I thought I would go straight to the source and just ask you. Have you heard of this?
A: Your friend did indeed get her facts straight on this one.
The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act has many perks, but the most effective thing it does for consumers is it changes the rules regarding credit freezes.
Prior to this law, some states prohibited the credit reporting agencies from charging fees for credit freezes, while other states allowed the fees. Credit freezes would also have to be placed and lifted at each agency individually. This process was inefficient and time consuming, and many consumers didn’t even bother placing a freeze on their credit.
With this new law, freezing and unfreezing your credit will be simpler and, best of all, free!
When a credit reporting agency receives an online or phone request to freeze someone’s credit, they must have it frozen within one day. When they receive a request to unfreeze someone’s credit report, it must be done so within one hour.
The purpose of a security freeze is to prevent the credit reporting agency from releasing your credit report while it’s in effect. Consumers will be given a PIN or password that they must have in order to later thaw their credit report so it can be released again.
Parents can also freeze their child’s credit under this new law. Children’s credit is valuable to thieves since it is clean and often not monitored regularly.
Finally, this new law will extend initial fraud alerts on your credit report from 90 days to one year, and allows victims of identity theft to place a fraud alert on their credit report for seven years.
Your identity is the most important thing you have, which is why you need to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.
Better Business Bureau is helping put a stop to identity theft with our National Secure Your ID Day shred event.
Come out to the Lifestyle Furniture parking lot on the southeast corner of Shaw and Blackstone avenues on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 9 a.m. and shred your outdated documents. Proceeds from this event will benefit Fresno Police Departments’ Neighborhood Watch Program.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems toAction Line at the BetterBusiness Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.