Freezing your credit can stop identity thieves from opening an account in your name, but until recently it cost money to do so in some US states. That’s about to change.

Here’s Bryan Krebs, writing for Krebs on Security:

Currently, many states allow the big three bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—to charge a fee for placing or lifting a security freeze. But thanks to a federal law enacted earlier this year, after Sept. 21, 2018 it will be free to freeze and unfreeze your credit file and those of your children or dependents throughout the United States.

Freezing your credit means that nobody can pull a credit report, which stops identity thieves from taking out loans or opening credit cards in your name. But a credit freeze also stops you from doing the same thing, so you’re not going to want your credit constantly frozen. Switching back and forth between frozen and unfrozen used to mean paying a lot of $10 fees, but as of September 21 that’s no longer the case.

RELATED: How to Stop Identity Thieves from Opening Accounts in Your Name

The fee going away makes freezing your credit just a little easier, which will help victims of identity theft and data breaches. The process still means heading to the website of all three major credit agencies and applying for a freeze or calling the agencies, which is annoying. Our guide to stopping identity thieves from opening accounts in your name outlines how to do this, if you’re curious.

This change doesn’t make the process faster or simpler, but it does remove the fees. That’s progress.


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Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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