As of September 21st, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are required to offer free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts nationally to all consumers. These initiatives are part of broader financial legislation, which was signed in May. Please be advised of the following:
- A credit or security freeze restricts access to your credit file and thereby helps protect personal/sensitive information and makes it difficult for identity thieves to open accounts in your name. To be effective, freezes need to be placed at all three credit bureaus.
- If you freeze your file, the credit bureaus will not provide lenders with information until you lift the freeze (using a personal identification number).
- Parents can now request free credit freezes for children under the age of 16.
- Fraud alerts inform businesses that check your credit that they need to confirm the opening of a new account with you. Fraud alert duration has changed and lasts for a year (vs. 90 days) and consumers can renew fraud alerts yearly. Victims of identity theft are eligible for an extended fraud alert lasting seven years.
- Free credit monitoring services will be offered to active duty military personnel.