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Freezing your credit report is now free, thanks to Equifax breach

By Ed Adamczyk
Freezing your credit report is now free, thanks to Equifax breach
A law went into effect Friday allowing people to freeze and unfreeze their credit reporting information at no cost. File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA-EFE/UPI

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Beginning Friday, you can place a freeze on your credit reports at no cost -- the result of the large-scale Equifax data breach last year.

Congress passed legislation this year for the provision that allows people to lock up their credit information, making the reports unavailable to creditors and identity thieves.

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The law requires credit bureaus to freeze a person's credit information within 24 hours after a request. "Unfreezing" the information is also part of the deal.

The adjustments are performed after an individual contacts a credit reporting bureau and fills out a short form to establish identity. A personal identity number is then chosen by the individual.

The law was passed after Equifax's data breach in 2017 that exposed the personal information of 148 million people in the United States.

The new law also extends the time a fraud alert can be filed -- from 90 days to one year.

Freezes on each of the three major reporting bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion -- must be accessed separately.

Some analysts have recommended registering with the National Consumer Telecommunications & Utilities Exchange, which provides information to cellphone and utility companies.

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