[Updated 9/24/18 with direct links to each bureau’s freeze site]
Remember the Equifax data breach last year that affected 143 million Americans whose sensitive personal information got exposed?
I was one of them.
It got me scrambling to protect my identity and I became anxious waiting for potentially fraudulent activity.
I learned soon after, that the easiest way to make sure no one steals your identity is via a credit freeze.
This means that nobody, not even you, can open new credit accounts while on the freeze. To unfreeze or “thaw” the account(s) you actually need a security pin that’s provided by the reporting bureau.
Typically, a credit freeze can cost between $3-$10 depending on location.
But beginning September 21, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit for free in addition to receiving fraud reports from all 3 bureaus all year long.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will each be creating new websites so everyone can freeze, unfreeze, and request fraud alerts easily.
Fraud alerts notify you first if any business wants to run your credit (for a credit card or car loan etc) before opening a new account. Alerts used to be set at 90 days, but after September 21, alerts will last an entire year.
This federal law of having free credit freezes was passed in May earlier this year in response to the Equifax breach.
To initiate your free credit freeze or unfreeze an account, head to the following bureaus:
For Equifax: www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/
For Experian: www.experian.com/freeze
For TransUnion: www.transunion.com/credit-freeze