In the wake of the recent Equifax data breach, a new federal law will allow U.S. consumers, including here in Las Vegas, to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports with the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) for free. It used to cost consumers $3 to $12 per bureau to freeze and unfreeze credit reports.
A credit freeze blocks lenders from pulling a consumer’s credit report to prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in the consumer’s name. Once frozen, the consumer can unfreeze the account, either temporarily or permanently, to apply for loans or other types of credit.
The new law also extends short-term fraud alerts from 90 days to one year. A fraud alert forces lenders to contact a consumer before extending credit to ensure the loan application is not fraudulent.
If you are the victim of identity theft, you should reach out to the credit bureaus and demand a credit freeze or fraud alert immediately. You should also speak to a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer about your rights under federal law against the credit bureaus and creditors if they fail to remove fraudulent or inaccurate information from your reports.