Equifax data breach: Are free credit freezes coming?

Equifax data breach
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After months of wrangling by lawmakers in Washington, a silver lining may be on the horizon for consumers across the United States in the wake of the Equifax data breach

If the Senate approves it next week, a banking bill will include a provision for credit-reporting bureaus to allow consumers to freeze their credit for free. The legislation, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, has bipartisan support and would be the first real national response to the massive hack.

Bill giving all consumers free credit freezes enjoys partisan support

Credit freezes are one of the safeguards consumers can utilize to protect themselves from identity fraud and theft.

In September, Equifax disclosed that criminals hacked into their system and stole the personal information of as many as 148 million Americans.

Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all typically charge a fee for credit freezes, ranging from $3 to $10 per person per bureau (in some states, it may be a bit more) so you can imagine that the money adds up when you think about the millions of people affected by the hack.

Money expert Clark Howard says freezing your credit is the #1 way to protect your financial information. He even recently testified about the issue before a legislative committee in Georgia, Equifax’s home state.

Here are the numbers to the major credit agencies.

  • Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872

 See our Credit Freeze Guide for step-by-step instructions

Equifax breach: 5 things to expect when freezing your credit

Equifax breach: Get the latest info and advice all in one place

Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who stills read paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer.
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