New Credit Freeze Law
There are three national credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. They collect information on individuals’ use and management of credit to build credit reports for lenders to then use to access the risk of potential borrowers.
In September 2017, Equifax was hacked and 145.5 million people’s information was compromised. Peoples sensitive data like names, home addresses, date of birth, driver’s license numbers, and Social Security numbers we taken. Information like this can be used to open bank accounts and lines of credit in the victim’s name without their knowledge.
Due to the breach and its large impact, the President passed new federal law allowing consumers to freeze your credit for FREE. Previously, this would cost up to $10 dollars to put a credit freeze in place. A credit freeze is to be considered one of the most effective ways to protect your credit. A freeze prevents people from opening any new lines of credit in your name by restricting access to your credit files. The law also allows free credit freezes to children under the age of 16 to prevent criminals from making fraudulent accounts under their identities.
If you request to freeze your credit over the phone or online, the freeze has to be completed within a day of the request. If the request is made by mail, then it has to be done within 3 days. This allows you to freeze and better protect your data faster. If you want the freeze lifted from your credit, it will be completed for free as well.
To request a credit freeze you can do so at any of the three credit bureaus’ websites. The FTC also has linked to the bureaus’ sites on their own website: www.identitytheft.gov.
IMPORTANT: If you freeze your credit, it prevents everyone from opening accounts in your name. That includes you! Once you freeze your credit you will be given a PIN to give you access to unfreezing your account later on.
If you would like to learn more about credit, you can visit our page on credit at: https://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/credit/. A peer financial counselor can also assist you in reviewing your credit report, understanding credit score, and much more so make an appointment today at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial!
Gretchen Holthaus, Peer Counselor II
302 K-State Student Union, Third Floor
918 N. 17th Street
Manhattan, KS 66506-2800