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Free credit freezes are coming soon

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Looking for stronger ways to protect your credit? Thanks to a new federal law, soon you can get free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts. Here’s what to look forward to when the law takes effect on September 21st:

Free credit freezes

  • What is it? A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Usually you get a PIN to use each time you want to freeze and unfreeze your account to apply for new credit.
  • What’s new? Currently, credit freezes may involve fees, based on state law. Starting this fall, it will be free to freeze and unfreeze your credit file throughout the country.

Free child credit freezes

  • What is it? A child credit freeze allows you to freeze a child’s credit file until the child is old enough to use credit.
  • What’s new? Currently, some state laws allow you to freeze a child’s credit file. Starting September 21st, no matter where you live, you’ll be able to get a free credit freeze for children under age 16.

Year-long fraud alerts

  • What is it? A fraud alert will tell any business that runs your credit that they should check with you before opening a new account.
  • What’s new? Currently, fraud alerts last 90 days. Starting this fall, an initial fraud alert will last for one year. It will still be free and identity theft victims can still get an extended fraud alert for seven years.

The new law has a long name – Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act – but the outcome is simple. When the law takes effect in September, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion must each set up a webpage for requesting fraud alerts and credit freezes. The FTC will also post links to those webpages on IdentityTheft.gov.

And if you’re in the military, there’s more. Within a year, credit reporting agencies must offer free electronic credit monitoring to all active duty military.

If you want to stay tuned on this law and get other tips, sign up for the FTC's Consumer Information Updates.

Comments

Awesome since I've received 2 alarts from banks info may have been stolen

All Credit freezes should have been free as soon as Our Credit reporting agencies couldn’t be bothered to keep our Credit information protected!!!

Thank you!!!

I would like updates on the free credit freezes coming in September.

Why/how does a child have a credit report?

A child might have a credit report if an identity thief used the child's Social Security number to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live.

You can check to see whether your child has a credit report. The FTC article about child identity theft explains how to check. If your child's information is being misused, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.

Crooks that steal children's information can get loans and open credit accounts with it.

Excellent news!

My credit report been hit 3 times this past month when I haven't applied for any credit Verizon wireless run my credit but I didn't apply for a account with them.

Tmobile hit mine for 900 and I didn’t any contract with them and they had nothing to prove I had the service contract but somehow I ended up having to pay to get it off. I paid a company for nothing and they yelled at me with threats. I wish you good luck.

The credit freezing is a step to individual protection. Now how to stop robocalls !!!

Whenever I receive a robocall or a call from ANYONE or ANY SOLICITOR that I don't want to call me again, I enter their phone number in my phone's "Contacts" list under the name "Block this call." They might call back, but at least I'll know which calls not to answer.

I tried that; my phone had a limit of several hundred possible entries; forget the number but it was over 500 entries. I filled it up in a little over 6 months! My current phone has a limit of 450 entries but out of that is room for speed dials and other calls, so it's not that much.

The ONE thing I've found that seems to work to limit a lot of those calls is to not press Answer until AFTER the second ring, which is when the CID is sent. If you can see that it's a call from no one you know, if you answer the call and then hang up within ten seconds (the length of a ring cycle), you will not hear from the again! It will still work often enough if you're too slow and the third ring comes in, but not as perfect as the answer/hangup within 10 seconds after the second ring.
I periodically go through my calls list on the phone and look for multiple instances of the same CID I seldom ever find a repeat. And yes, I know CID can be spoofed, but I've found that whatever it says, it doesn't change for a particular campaign.
Experiment with it; it works.

We are conservators of an adult with severe disabilities. Can we freeze his credit and get fraud alerts for him also?

The new law allows a conservator to get a free freeze for the person you legally represent, after you provide proof that you have authority to act on the person's behalf. Usually the proof you must provide is a court order or power of attorney.

This is great news! Thank you FTC!

I'm glad to see these rather restrictive policies will be changing in September. Thanks, FTC for the great information and everything else you do.

This is awesome!!! Thank you!

Excellent news for consumers!

Love it! Thanks so much for doing what you do! We appreciate your efforts on behalf of consumers everywhere!

Thank you FTC! Great protections for consumers! And, just in time to brace against Christmas credit thieves. Thanks for being forward thinking!

I currently have a credit freeze because of identity theft. I was trying to purchase a new vehicle so I contacted the credit beaurals. I received a one time use for the dealership to access my credit but the temporary password didn't work. Is there a certain way that this is supposed to work?

What happens if I have a paid contract with TriustedId?

Thank you! Right now, I have my three credit bureaus frozen which makes it difficult to unlock if I want to buy an item using the benefit of their credit options.

Great news!! For Fathers day. Whoever came up with this one deserves a Nobel Prize.

Best would be to eliminate entirely the "Credit Rating Agency/Bureau" activities: renown as elements or organized crime! Those entities sell proprietary financial information all over the world. The info is sold to the very entities that in turn create false accounts of all sorts using childrens' information. FTC should shut them all down. Require that Lenders do their jobs and verify credit worthiness on their own. IT IS THEIR JOB! Banks, Insurance companies [et al] are complicit while aiding and abetting criminal activities by 'farming out' the job tasks involved - and providing personal information - merely to make a lending decision.

This will be great for the consumers. Hopefully, it works as good as it sounds.

I can't wait for it to start. Thank you.

Thank you! Great information.

Bridget, please correct me if I'm wrong. But weren't credit freezes always available as an option? Was it the case that they weren't free earlier?

Yes, currently you can get a credit freezes, but there may be fees, based on state law.

Starting this fall - across the country - it will be free to freeze and unfreeze your credit file.

If I already have credit freezes in place do I have to do anything different when the new law takes effect?

If you have freezes in place on September 21, 2018, and you want to keep them, you don't need to do anything. A freeze remains in place until you ask a credit reporting agency to lift it temporarily or permanently.

Fantastic work FTC!

Are there ramifications for the credit reporting agencies if they don't provide the service upon commencement of this new law?

Great, thanks for the information, I will surely take advantage of this.

This is awesome, but remember to always try to protect your other information too, that can be stolen...such as, your medical insurance, passport number, DMV records, and more. These identity thieves can be very smart.

Hi,
Firstly, thanks for all the great info that the hardworking women and men at the FTC provide us.
I'm very confused now. Last year I placed security freezes on ALL THREE CREDIT BUREAUS (sorry for yelling) . Trans union and Experian charged a fee of $10.00, Equifax was offering the free sec. Freeze. Here I am on July 5th,2018, and I would appreciate correct info. So now what do we do? Do I have to REDO/reinstate security freezes again due to upcoming law( which is just amazing,thank you to all the hardworking men and women who helped pass it!) Also, I called and spoke with CSR from Equifax(who stated right away that their systems are down ) she was super nice,but,was in another country (russia) and the trans union guy who was courteous and professional, he was in India. IS THIS SAFE FOR CITIZENS OF USA? How is this safe? Cheers! What now ?

When you place a security freeze, it remains in place until you ask the credit reporting agency to lift it, either temporarily or permanently. If you placed a security freeze before September 21, 2018 and have not lifted the freeze since you placed it, the freeze is still in place.

Under the new law, you won't have to pay when you lift the freeze temporarily or permanently. The new law also lets people place a fraud alert that lasts for one year.

I wrote a question and now I dont see it on here. What happened? (sigh)

It's the least they could do for all the federal workers that had their personnel files stolen!

Very good news

What a great concept for us all! Hopefully it will benefit & live up to its impending standards....I'm game.

What about ChexSystems, Innovis, National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange, The Work Number... just to name a few of the others?

When the law takes effect in September, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion must each set up a webpage for requesting fraud alerts and credit freezes.

TL,DR: Yes, they are covered too.

Reading the law, it applies to any "consumer reporting agency" defined by another law.

That law states, the term “consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis” means a consumer reporting agency that regularly engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating, and maintaining, for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, each of the following regarding consumers residing nationwide:
(1) Public record information.
(2) Credit account information from persons who furnish that information regularly and in the ordinary course of business.
So based on that, I'd say yes, and that includes having to set up the webpage.

The new law is an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  The new credit freeze law applies to nationwide credit reporting agencies that furnish consumer reports based on both public record information and credit account information.

Thanks Bridget, but what about the other CRAs? The law says "(2) Placement of security freeze. (A) In general.--Upon receiving a direct request from a consumer that a consumer reporting agency place a security freeze..." This means any CRA, not just the big three.

The law applies only to nationwide credit reporting agencies. Please contact a business directly to ask if it offers a freeze.

What about unfreezing the credit? Is that free as well?

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