In many states, including Virginia, you had to pay 10 dollars to freeze your accounts at each of the 3 major credit bureaus. That changes this Friday. From then on it will be free to place a freeze on your credit accounts and that means no one can use your personal information to open one in your name. Here’s how that could happen if your accounts are not frozen.
"So maybe somebody got access to your social security number, they know your name they know your address, they can file an application or fill out an online application for credit.
Travis Mountain is an associate professor of applied economics at Virginia Tech.
“Ultimately that financial institution is going to try to pull your credit report. That’s going to be rejected because you had this credit freeze."
Mountain says the fees charged by the credit bureaus and the trouble it took to freeze your credit kept a lot of people from doing it. Now, all you have to do is go online or call them. Consumer advocates are urging people to set up the freeze, and it must be done at all three credit bureaus in order to provide protection. If you want to ‘thaw’ your credit to get approval to use it for a major purchase like a house or a car, that’s also free.
Mountain is a Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialist and an assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He specializes in financial and economic well-being including behavioral economics and financial decision-making. His research has accorded him multiple awards within the field of consumer financial interests.
Links to the 3 major credit bureaus: