Freez­ing credit re­ports is now free of charge

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page - Staff re­port

This year, Gover­nor Deal signed Se­nate Bill 376, al­low­ing Ge­or­gians to freeze and thaw their credit re­ports free of charge be­gin­ning July 1, 2018.

“A credit freeze can be a pow­er­ful and proac­tive weapon against iden­tity theft,” said At­tor­ney Gen­eral Chris Carr. “We hope this new law will en­cour­age more Ge­or­gians to use this sim­ple tool to pro­tect them­selves from fraud.”

When a freeze is in place, credit re­port­ing agen­cies can­not re­lease con­sumers’ credit re­ports or credit scores un­less con­sumers first re­move the freeze by pro­vid­ing a PIN or pass­word. Since lenders and cred­i­tors rely on ac­cess to con­sumers’ credit files to de­ter­mine their cred­it­wor­thi­ness, deny­ing such ac­cess through a freeze makes it very dif­fi­cult for an iden­tity thief to open a new credit ac­count or get a loan in a vic­tim’s name.

To place a credit freeze on your file, you must con­tact each of the three ma­jor credit re­port­ing agen­cies: Ex­pe­rian 1-888-397-3742 www.ex­pe­ freeze/cen­ter.html Equifax 1-800-685-1111 www.freeze.equifax. com Tran­sUnion LLC 1-888-909-8872 www.tran­ per­sonal-credit/cred­it­dis­putes/credit-freezes. page

There are other spe­cial­ized credit re­port­ing agen­cies, one of which is the Na­tional Con­sumer Tele­com and Util­i­ties Ex­change (NCTUE), which main­tains data re­ported by some telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, pay TV and util­ity ser­vice providers. If you wish to place or re­move a se­cu­rity freeze on your NCTUE ac­count, call 1-866349-5355 or visit www. ex­change­ser­vice­cen­ter. com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_ Per­son­alIDInfo.jsp.

A credit freeze does not af­fect your ex­ist­ing credit in any way. How­ever, if you want to ap­ply for a new loan or credit card, you will need to con­tact the credit re­port­ing agen­cies to have the freeze tem­po­rar­ily lifted or thawed.

A new fed­eral law will go into ef­fect Septem­ber 21, 2018 that will make credit freezes free na­tion­wide.

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