By Rob Tucker with Iowa ID Theft Victim Assistance Coalition
Iowa Identity Theft Victim Assistance Coalition is urging Iowans to consider using a new state law that was effective July 1, 2018 that permits consumers to 'freeze' their credit reports at no cost.
Before this new law, Iowans had to pay each of the three major credit reporting agencies $10 to freeze their credit reports and another $12 to temporarily suspend the freeze if they wished to apply for credit, for a total of $66.00.
Iowa’s law also permitted companies to each charge up to $10 for permanently removing a credit freeze. The new law does away with all those fees and permits any Iowan to place, suspend or remove a credit freeze at no charge.
Often called a credit security freeze, the effect is to bar new creditors from seeing your credit report and credit score. Consumers may want to freeze their credit reports for several reasons, including to prevent someone else from applying for credit cards or loans in their names. Placing a credit freeze also helps prevent others from using a consumer’s name to apply for a job or rent a home or apartment.
The core purpose of placing a credit freeze is to prevent identity theft. Before this new law, a person had to become a victim of identity theft to freeze your credit at no charge. Iowa’s new law is similar to a new federal law that will become effective later this year.
However freezing your credit doesn’t prevent all forms of identity fraud.
Even if a credit freeze is in place, scam artists may still try to make charges on your existing accounts so it’s still important to check your credit card bills closely every month. Freezing your credit also doesn’t stop credit card offers from coming in the mail.
Consumers who freeze their credit reports, but later wish to apply for credit will have to contact the credit reporting agencies in order to lift the credit freezes which is also now free to consumers.
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