This week Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The change allows you to freeze your credit report through Equifax, TransUnion and Experian without having to pay a fee.
“It’s a process by which you can block identity thieves and others from looking at private details and consumer’s credit history, " John Yanchunis said, who is the head of the Consumer Class Action Practice at the law firm Morgan & Morgan. "So it will be an effective deterrent to stolen identity.”
It's been approximately one year since the Equifax data breach was announced. The credit reporting company disclosed that 150 million American's personal information were up for grabs.
During that time, some customers were advised to put a freeze on their credit. The fee to freeze your credit can cost up to $30 and another $20 to unfreeze it.
"Some states prohibitory accept that fee, but this has been a source of revenue for all the credit burrows for sometime," Yanchunis said.
Some states, including Florida, have laws that waved those fees.
Now you can freeze your report for free, nationwide.
To freeze your credit report, contact all three credit agencies:
You will need your Social Security number, date of birth and address.
Unfreezing your report goes through the same process. You'll just contact the agencies and provide them with the personal identification number you received when you placed the freeze on your report.
If freezing your credit isn't ideal, you can also look into fraud protection services.
Fraud protection services usually give you access to your credit score, your credit report and will alert you when suspicious activity is detected.
The new law has changed the status quo for financial fraud. It is now easy to freeze and unfreeze credit, "it’s somewhat like a light switch," Yanchunis said. "It is a tremendous benefit for consumers."