Good news for residents of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia – the last 11 states yet to pass credit freeze legislation (you may as well add Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota to that list as they have adopted security freeze laws but they only cover you after you’ve become a victim of identity theft). Starting on October 15, TransUnion will begin offering consumers in all 50 states the ability to freeze access to their credit files, a right that has side-stepped many people to this point. Every day, an average of 27,000 Americans have their identities stolen. A credit freeze allows you to “freeze” access to your credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or get new credit in your name. When YOU want to apply for credit, you can temporarily lift the freeze using a PIN to allow legitimate applications for credit to be processed.
After TransUnion made the announcement, Equifax responded that they too would follow suit in October (at this point, no procedural details have been provided by Equifax). Hopefully, Experian will also follow suit [seems likely]. A security freeze should be placed at each of the three major credit reporting agencies in order to effectively curb identity theft.
TransUnion has announced that it will provide the security freeze at no charge to identity theft victims and charge others $10 to initiate a freeze and $10 “thaw” it [temporarily or permanently]. States with the most consumer-friendly laws typically charge $5 to initiate the protection. TransUnion has indicated that it will meet or exceed the requirements of those laws for consumers in those states. Consumers will be able to initiate the freeze by mail and lift it by mail or phone. They will also offer an immediate, online option for $14.95/month.
Beginning in September of 2008, a number of states that have passed security freeze laws will require all three bureaus to enable consumers to lift the security freeze within 15 minutes of making an electronic request. Under these laws, the bureaus will have to comply with quicker requests without charging any additional fees. Utah was the first state to initiate this practice …
Additional Credit Freeze Resources.
- Order Your Free Credit Report
- Prior Financial Tips:
o Credit Freeze Legislation
o Identity Theft Resources
- State Freeze Laws
- TransUnion Credit Freeze News Release