September 02, 2008


I started writing about the issue of a credit freeze (sometimes referred to as a security freeze) a couple of years ago when they first surfaced. This past week there was [finally] some refreshing information coming from the State of Missouri, one of only five states that had yet to pass credit freeze legislation.

Credit Freeze Refresher...
Each year, more than 8 million people fall victim to identity theft in the U.S. People fall prey for numerous reasons: mismanagement of personal information, fraud and financial scams, compromised data, dumpster diving, oftentimes for reasons beyond ones own control. The credit freeze was developed as a way to allow a consumer to protect their personal information/credit by "freezing" their credit file. With a credit freeze, no one (including you) can open any form of credit in your name until your credit file is “thawed.” This has become a very streamlined process which can now be taken care of completely online.

Nearly a year ago (11/1/07), the credit bureaus voluntarily offered to allow credit freezes to be available to everyone (a 'benefit' that had prior only been avaialable to residents of states that had passed credit freeze legislation). Last week, the Missouri legislature passed a state credit freeze law also lowering the cost of a credit freeze to $5 ($10 is average -- it is also the max charged). The Governor has already signed the bill and it took effect last week (August 28).

Credit Freeze Instructions...
Instructions for freezing ones credit can be found on the website of the individual credit reporting agencies:
- Equifax
- Experian
- TransUnion (FREE Online)

* Click here for a comprehensive list of State Credit Freeze Requirements and Fees.