Freezes on Credit Reports

Are you interested in freezing your credit report/line to help avoid identity theft?  Good News – Congress has recently passed legislation that will allow people to freeze their credit lines for free.  This will allow people to block thieves from opening up credit in their name without charge.

In the past, credit rating companies have charged fees of $2 to $10 to those who want to freeze their credit reports to help protect themselves from fraud. In states that have not already outlawed the fees, the freezes can cost from $2 to $10, and you need to pay it to each of the three credit-rating agencies separately.

This new bill has been signed by the president and the no-fee service will go into effect in the coming months.

Support for the freeze gained ground in the months since Equifax, one of the three major credit-rating agencies, announced its data had been breached and that as many as 150 million consumers’ personal information was revealed. Fraudsters can use such information to establish credit in another person’s name, posing significant financial liability on the unsuspecting consumer and negatively affecting the consumer’s credit rating. With a freeze in place, no one can set up such credit in your name.

Be on the lookout for this option.  In the meantime, if you wish to check your credit report, the IRS suggests using www.freecreditreport.com to check your information with each of the three credit-reporting credit agencies.  You are able to obtain a report from each of the agencies once a year for free.

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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent as well as a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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