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Congress recently passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act which is designed to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft. Due to this new law, free credit freezes will be available in September. September 21st to be exact. One from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

What Is A Credit Freeze?

A credit freeze is a safeguard against fraudulent attempts to access your credit. Freezing your credit will make it more difficult for criminals to open lines of credit under your social security number. It doesn’t keep you from opening credit, but it is an extra hurdle. This hurdle can save you a great deal of time, money and stress should your identity be stolen. When you apply for a freeze, you will most likely be given a PIN number which will allow you to freeze and unfreeze your credit.

In the past, some credit freezes would incur a fee, depending on the laws of your state. This is no longer the case under the new law.

What Else Is New Under This Law?

Under the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, credit freezes will be one-year long. Currently, initial fraud alerts last for 90 days. If your identity has already been stolen, you can still receive an extended freeze for seven years. Any business who runs your credit will be required to contact you for permission before opening a new account.

Additionally, the three major credit bureaus will be required to provide a webpage which will allow consumers to request credit freezes and alerts.

Also, under the law, you will be allowed to freeze your child’s credit file until they become of age to apply for credit. When the law goes into action, parents in any state can freeze their child’s credit, so long as the child is under 16 years old.

Finally, within one year credit bureaus must offer electronic credit monitoring for all active duty military, free of charge.

This is a good step in the right direction for consumers in terms of protecting their identities. Free credit freezes will be available in September which will give Americans another firewall in the war against identity thieves.

A Free Guide on How To Secure Your Identity & Protect Your Data