Beginning October 15th, credit reporting company TransUnion will let consumers freeze their credit reports, which means imposters will not be able to use your credit to do things like open new phone accounts or sign up for credit cards. While this is great news, the other two major credit reporters, Experian and Equifax, are so far not offering a similar feature, although they say they’re considering it.
Of course, TransUnion isn’t simply doing this to be nice. Unless you can prove you’re already a victim of identity theft, the freeze will cost you $10. No word on whether that’s a one-time or annual fee, but we’ll be realists and assume it’s annual. You receive a pin code that you can use to unfreeze the report for legitimate uses.
A spokesman for Consumers Union points out that the offering is good, but not really effective unless the other big players participate:
We think it’s a major development… but you really need to be able to freeze all three of your credit files. Otherwise, it’s like locking your front door but leaving your window and back door open.
Currently 39 states have passed laws that offer various levels of freezing protection, but TransUnion is the first credit reporting agency to offer it to customers in every state, regardless of whether they’ve been the victims of identity theft or not.
“TransUnion gives consumers authority to block use of credit reports” [The Kansas City Star]