Free credit report freezes

A new federal law will soon allow everyone to freeze — and thaw — their credit report free. A freeze can deter identity theft.

  • By Kimberly Lankford,
  • Kiplinger
  • Credit
  • Online Security
  • Credit
  • Online Security
  • Credit
  • Online Security
  • Credit
  • Online Security
  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • LinkedIn.
  • Google Plus
  • Print

Q: I'd like to freeze my credit record to protect against identity theft. I heard that Congress recently passed a law making credit freezes free. When can I get my free freeze?

A: Congress just passed a law that will prohibit the three big credit bureaus — Equifax (EFX), Experian (EXPGY) and TransUnion (TRU) — from charging a fee to place or lift a credit freeze. The free freezes will be available throughout the country this fall; the credit bureaus have until September 21, 2018, to implement the new law. A credit freeze prevents new creditors from reviewing your credit report, making it harder for identity thieves to take out credit in your name.

Protect kids from identity theft

These smart steps can help you protect their data from thieves.

Until the new law goes into effect, the cost to freeze your credit record varies by state. In many states, each credit bureau charges $5 to $10 to freeze your credit record and may charge a similar fee to lift the freeze if you're applying for a loan. (To hinder ID thieves, you need to freeze your record at all three credit bureaus.)

But several states recently passed laws to eliminate credit-freeze fees. You can place a free credit freeze in Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Washington, D.C. (You may need to pay a fee to lift the freeze in some of these states.) By the end of June, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington state will also be offering free credit freezes.

Go to www.equifax.com, www.experian.com and www.transunion.com to initiate the freeze and find out more about the cost and procedures. Equifax, which experienced a massive data breach last year, is offering free freezes for all consumers until June 30.

Also check with your state attorney general's office or consumer protection bureau to find out whether your state offers additional consumer protections on security freezes beyond what the federal law provides.

  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • LinkedIn.
  • Google Plus
  • Print

For more news you can use to help guide your financial life, visit our Insights page.


© 2018 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.
Votes are submitted voluntarily by individuals and reflect their own opinion of the article's helpfulness. A percentage value for helpfulness will display once a sufficient number of votes have been submitted.
close
Please enter a valid e-mail address
Please enter a valid e-mail address
Important legal information about the e-mail you will be sending. By using this service, you agree to input your real e-mail address and only send it to people you know. It is a violation of law in some jurisdictions to falsely identify yourself in an e-mail. All information you provide will be used by Fidelity solely for the purpose of sending the e-mail on your behalf.The subject line of the e-mail you send will be "Fidelity.com: "

Your e-mail has been sent.
close

Your e-mail has been sent.