Daily Dupaco

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What you should know about free credit freezes

What you should know about free credit freezes

Dupaco member Damian Janisch reads to his son, Xzavier, in their Dickeyville, Wis., home. Thanks to swift action by his financial cooperative, Janisch’s money—and his Dupaco accounts—were secured when he became a victim of identity theft. (S. Gassman photo) Read more >



You now have another way to protect your credit.

A new federal law, which took effect Sept. 21, allows you to get free credit freezes for yourself and your children, and yearlong fraud alerts. Previously, you could be charged fees to freeze and unfreeze your credit, depending on your state’s laws.

How credit freezes work

Freezing your credit prevents creditors from accessing your credit report—making it more difficult for fraudsters to open new credit, loans and services in your name.

Credit freezes don’t affect your current credit and loan accounts.

You must place credit freezes with each of the three major credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Typically, you’re assigned a PIN that allows you to freeze and unfreeze your credit as needed.

RELATED: It pays to understand and know your score.

Child credit freezes

Thanks to the new law, you can also be able to freeze your children’s credit until they are old enough to use it.

Prior to this law, not all states have allowed parents to do so. And some states have charged fees for this service.

“You always want to make sure your children are protected for their future,” says Cindy Hilkin, consumer lending consultant supervisor at Dupaco Community Credit Union. “Social Security Numbers are still being stolen and misused, so I would have no hesitation about freezing my child’s credit.”

What to remember

A credit freeze can create hurdles when you need to apply for new credit.

The freeze remains active until you remove it, so it’s important to plan ahead by unfreezing your credit before applying for any new credit or loans.  

Under the new law, you are also able to sign up for year-long fraud alerts. With fraud alerts, businesses must verify your identity before issuing credit. The law extends the previous 90-day alert period.

Credit freezes and fraud alerts should not take the place of regularly monitoring your credit, Hilkin cautions. Continue to keep tabs on your credit and watch for suspicious activity through services such as Dupaco’s free Bright Track credit monitoring service.

RELATED: Dupaco gives you additional resources to help you respond to identity theft.

“Freezing your credit won’t stop all identity theft, but it will be a huge deterrent,” Hilkin says.

By Emily Kittle

Comments (1)
Faulty link
Judy
 • 49 days 2 hrs 13 mins 1 sec ago
Clicking on "find out if your state charges for credit freezing" I got a page from Experian.
 

Re: Faulty link
Dupaco Moderator
 • 48 days 20 hrs 30 mins 8 secs ago

Hi Judy, thanks for letting us know! Now that the law is in effect, credit freezes are free in all 50 states. We have updated the story to reflect this information.

 

Faulty link
Judy
 • 49 days 2 hrs 13 mins 1 sec ago
Clicking on "find out if your state charges for credit freezing" I got a page from Experian.
 

Re: Faulty link
Dupaco Moderator
 • 48 days 20 hrs 30 mins 8 secs ago

Hi Judy, thanks for letting us know! Now that the law is in effect, credit freezes are free in all 50 states. We have updated the story to reflect this information.

 

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