This is certainly good news to anyone out there that is intent on protecting themselves from identity theft and/or credit fraud:
“Major credit bureaus Experian and Equifax on Thursday joined TransUnion and said they will, this year, let people in all 50 states freeze their credit histories…
The decision by all three bureaus to offer national freezes will let consumers lock down their credit histories â€” especially if they are victims of identity theft. Until now, a patchwork of laws in 39 states allowed consumers, to varying degrees, to protect themselves…
A credit freeze bars the bureaus from issuing your credit history, the summary of loans and payments that forms the basis of your credit score. Because few lenders will issue credit without first seeing a credit score, freezing your information means identity thieves can’t use stolen Social Security numbers to fraudulently open accounts.”
The bad news is that two of the three bureaus (TransUnion and Equifax) will charge $10 a pop to lock and unlock your credit history. They claim that they’re simply trying to cover costs, but Experian has seen fit to offer this service for free. Given that the entire business model of these companies if based on collecting and distributing our personal information, I’m hardly sympathetic to their pleas to “cover their costs” while doing so.
Nonetheless, this is a good option. And if states pass laws mandating lower (or no) fees, the credit bureaus will be forced to comply.
[Source: USA Today]