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BBB Trends: Freeze your credit, prevent identity thieves — all for free starting September 21

By Sandra Guile
Better Business Bureau

People who are worried about their credit and identity thieves stealing personal information will have a way of protecting themselves for free.

Effective September 21, 2018 consumers will be able to place a free credit freeze using Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

This prevents lenders from providing information about your credit report to open new credit accounts and loans.

A credit freeze also a way of preventing identity thieves from opening accounts or accessing credit in your name without your knowledge.

Depending on where people live in the United States, it costs anywhere from $3 to $10 to freeze credit lines plus additional charges to unfreeze it to buy a house, car or open a line of credit.

This law, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, once in effect, will supersede all existing laws with one national free credit freeze law.

Each of the credit bureaus will then be required to fulfill requests in one business day if it’s made online or by phone, and three business days if by mail.

However, even if your line of credit is frozen, you can still make purchases and you are still required to pay the minimum balance on your credit account if there is one.

Take a proactive approach in keeping your personal information just that – personal. Find more information about how to protect it at identitytheft.gov.

Sandra Guile is the Community Outreach Specialist for BBB. She promotes BBB’s message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, media relations, press releases, web content, and other written materials. Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 – to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.

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