Credit Freeze - ID Theft Prevention


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October 21, 2018

CREDIT FREEZE- New Federal Law Make Credit Freezes Free

You may have heard about the new federal law that took effect on September 21st making placing and lifting credit freezes free nationwide. Credit freezes have received publicity in recent years because they help deter identity theft and with the rise in incidents of identity theft, credit freezes have become an important prevention tool.

A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file from outsiders. If an identity thief has access to your credit information, it can allow him/her to open credit card accounts or take out loans in your name. A credit freeze also restricts your access to your credit information.

The new federal law has several benefits. The most publicized benefit is that freezing and un-freezing your credit now is free. Before the federal law, some states allowed credit bureaus to charge a modest fee each time you froze your credit report and each time you lifted the freeze on your credit report.

Another benefit is that the new law sets standards for timeliness for freezing and un-freezing credit. If you contact the credit bureaus online or by phone, the bureaus need to have your freeze in place no later than the next business day. And they must lift a freeze within an hour.

You can also freeze your child’s credit for free under the new law. Federal and state officials are encouraging parents to take advantage of this capability. Identity thieves frequently sign up for credit cards, loans, and other credit instruments in the name of children because children have no credit history and therefore are easy victims.

Finally, given appropriate documentation you can freeze the credit of someone under guardianship or for a person for whom you hold a valid power of attorney for free.

The following links have instructions and links and phone numbers for each of the three credit bureaus. You will need to set up a credit freeze with each of the credit bureaus separately.

AARP Fraud Watch Network:

Federal Trade Commission:

Better Business Bureau:

Steve MollerSouth Snohomish County Crime WatchEmail: snohomishcrimewatch@outlook.comTwitter: Crime Mapping for Snohomish County: