CONSUMER ALERT!

Consumer Protection Division
(208) 334-2424 or
Toll-free at (800) 432-3545

Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: December 11, 2007

Consumers may voluntarily freeze their credit reports

(Boise) – Idaho consumers concerned about the risk of identity theft should consider placing a voluntary freeze on their credit reports, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Wasden noted that each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) offers consumers the ability to freeze their credit reports.

“If you freeze your credit report, potential creditors and others will not be able to get access to your credit report unless you temporarily lift the freeze. A credit freeze can protect you from the most common form of identity theft because the freeze makes it unlikely an identity thief could open a new account in your name,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Placing a credit freeze does not affect your credit score, and it does not prevent you from opening new credit accounts or getting your free annual credit report.”

Placing a credit freeze means that your file cannot be shared with potential creditors. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without first checking a consumer's credit history. If your credit files are frozen, even someone who has your name and Social Security number would probably not be able to get credit in your name.

For a credit freeze to be effective, you must place a freeze with each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Each credit agency charges a $10 fee. For married couples, it is necessary for each spouse to place a credit freeze with each credit reporting agency. The total cost is $30 for an individual or $60 for a married couple.

A credit freeze will not make it more difficult to get a loan or open a new credit account. Consumers may “lift” their credit freeze temporarily, permanently, or for a specific creditor. Placing a freeze on your credit reports will not affect your credit score.

Each credit reporting agency requires you to provide slightly different information when you request a credit freeze. Click here for details on how to freeze your credit reports and other information about credit freezes.

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