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We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Friday, September 21st, 2007

USA Today ran an article today, “Consumers score the right to freeze credit” in light of TransUnion’s announcement to extend the freeze to all consumers. The article addresses that while this is good, we also believe “consumers deserve the right to a low-cost security freeze that makes it easy to prevent crooks from opening fraudulent accounts.” This may be the perfect opportunity for consumers to make an impact and obtain more control over their credit files and identities through a low-cost, easy to use security freeze.

We issued letters to TransUnion, Equifax and Experian to provide a security freeze to all consumers at no fee for identity theft victims, $5 for non-victims to place the security freeze with them and for temporarily lifting when we want new credit, to be able to use regular mail, phone or a secure electronic method to place the security freeze and to be able to temporarily lift the security freeze within 15 minutes of a request.

This isn’t burdensome to the three credit bureaus, as they will already have to implement these features for consumers in a number of states throughout the nation. For instance, the freeze is free for Indiana consumers. If you live in Minnesota or North Dakota, you can place your security freeze by phone. And, if you live in Utah, the District of Columbia, Tennessee, Washington or Wyoming, you’ll be able to temporarily lift a security freeze from your credit files beginning next September.

It shouldn’t matter if you live in Indiana or Illinois, or Florida or Missouri. We think all consumers should have access to the best provisions of the best state security freeze laws.

If you agree with us, we encourage you to contact the credit bureaus and let them know what you think. We wanted to post general customer service numbers for them, but this proved to be quite a challenge without sending you to an endless loop of prompts on the telephone. However, we have provided the links to the customer service pages for TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. We hope you will write to them, email them, call them and tell them what you think–and let us know what you think!

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