A Few Things to Know About Credit Freezes
On the radio show, I commented that a good thing has come of the 143 million person security breach at Equifax. Finally, consumers are acting as if identity theft is a real risk. With or without the Equifax breach, identity theft is a serious thing. It is not if you will be a victim of identity theft of some kind, it is when you will be a victim. Companies can't for some reason stay in front of the bad guys.
The obvious solution is a credit freeze. Unlike a fraud alert that only works 75% of the time, the credit freeze locks up your credit report where no one can see it unless you unfreeze it. Of course the credit freeze has some costs associated with it.
According to consumer research group ValuePenguin's latest analysis, and fees in Texas are the 3rd highest in the country.
Equifax has waived the cost on their credit freeze until November 21st. However, don't think that just by freezing Equifax you have solved the problem. You need to freeze all three. Here are the costs to freeze and unfreeze reports.
- Equifax (after Nov. 21)
Freeze Fees - $10
Temporary Unfreeze Fees - $10
Permanent Unfreeze Fees - $10
Freeze Fees - $10.83
Temporary Unfreeze Fees - $10.83
Permanent Unfreeze Fees - $10.83
Freeze Fees - $10.00
Temporary Unfreeze Fees - $10.00
Permanent Unfreeze Fees - Free
The Freeze for Free?
According to the U.S. PIRG, Senator Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Senator Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and other Senators are trying to get a piece of legislation passed that would make the credit freeze free in all states. It is called the FREE Act. Free stands for the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) Act
We will see how political the Republicans are at this point. They seem to be fighting every pro-consumer piece of legislation such as fighting for Banks retaining the right to have arbitration clauses in their consumer contracts. This is a no brainer for the consumer to get rid of arbitration clauses and charges for the security freeze. Their true colors will show when asked to vote for something that could hurt profits for their donors.