New Florida Law: Free Security Credit Freezes
The three major credit reports agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian-maintain detailed personal consumer information in your credit reports. When you apply for credit, the lender will pull at least one of those reports to decide whether to grant the loan and at what price.
A credit security freeze restricts the reporting agencies from releasing your credit reports without your authorization. This prevents identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. It does not affect your credit score.
Currently, state law governs how much credit reporting agencies can charge you for a credit freeze. Agencies typically also charge a fee to unfreeze credit.
A new state law makes credit freezes free for Florida residents. Florida House Bill 953 (https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/953) prohibits consumer reporting agencies from charging any fees to consumers for placing, removing, or temporarily lifting security freezes on his or her consumer report.
The bill was signed by the governor and went into effect on July 1, 2018 https://www.flgov.com/governor-scott-signs-46-bills-into-law-today-2/
To place a complete security freeze you must contact each credit reporting company and place a security freeze with each one:
- TransUnion: https://freeze.transunion.com
- Equifax: https://www.freeze.equifax.com
- Experian: https://www.experian.com/ncaconline/freeze
Lifting Credit Freezes
A freeze can be lifted for a specified amount of time or permanently. A credit reporting company must lift a freeze no later than three business days after getting your request. In some cases it will be lifted instantly.
In September, a federal law will go into effect that makes credit freezes free for all. It will also make credit freezes available for children. For more information go to the Federal Trade Commission web site https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/06/free-credit-freezes-are-coming-soon-0