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Food experts don’t recommend it for your ground chuck or pork shoulder, but starting September 21, 2018, there’s something consumers can safely freeze, unfreeze, and then freeze again.

It’s their credit file.

Thanks to a new federal law – the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act – consumers will be able to contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies and direct them to place a free freeze on the consumer’s credit file. By restricting access, a credit freeze makes it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in consumers’ names.

But once consumers have a freeze in place, what happens if they want to lift it so they can finance a purchase? That’s where another feature of the law comes in.

Not only will it be free for consumers to freeze their credit, but they can lift that freeze for free, too. And the law requires the credit reporting agencies to do it in a hurry. If a consumer asks for a freeze online or by phone, the credit reporting agency has to put the freeze in place no later than the next business day. If the consumer wants to lift the freeze – for example, to finance a new phone or fridge – that has to happen within an hour.

What does that mean for your business? Once freezes are free, it’s likely that more people interested in buying something from your business on credit will have freezes in place. The law streamlines the process for lifting those freezes, but there will be an initial adjustment period as consumers get used to the system of freezing, unfreezing, and refreezing their credit file. Under the new law, the FTC and the credit reporting agencies must set up webpages to make it easier for consumers to take advantage of their new rights. Those links will be in operation when the law takes effect.

Follow the FTC Business Blog and Consumer Blog as we post more on this topic.

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Brady Harness
August 16, 2018
Finally, we have more Rights to control "OUR" credit which is certainly some thing that the Dumbocrat/Socialist would never give us !!!
August 19, 2018

In reply to by Brady Harness

Are you kidding me? Social democracies have more consumer protections in place than the US could dream of. Why do you think FaceBook in Europe has to inform users what they'll do with data?
Money Marc
August 18, 2018
Brady, what a thoughtless comment since the CFPB was largely a Democrat creation. The destruction of it is constantly being sought by Republicans, the party of the rich. That's not to say poor ignorant, uneducated, fools who constantly vote against their own interests listening to other rich people from Fox who rile them up are not supporters. It's just they take no actual benefits. You have got your guns, but ever ask yourself why so many Red States are flat broke? Every notion the CFPB protects against is a concoction of conservatives. Liberals aren't your problem. Billionaires are.
Robin P
August 21, 2018
I am so glad this is going into effect it certainly is a great idea, I was hoping they would come up with something other then the chip! People need this to protect themselves and our elders!
Michelle Lee Kosik
August 25, 2018
Well don’t you worry they’re going to be held accountable . And they never say they’re protecting taxpayers . Only the people that don’t pay into the economy just pay for their elections .
September 02, 2018
I was the victim of identity theft in the early 1990s before it was even a "thing" -- my CC was stolen while en route to me via mail and tens of thousands of dollars above the limit charged to the account (which probably wouldn't even be possible with today's technologies). I don't know much more than that in terms of what actually happened because it was handled by my CC provider, and they could not fully disclose. Anyway, ever since then, I have had a freeze on all three credit reports. So when I wanted to rent an apartment or purchase something on credit or have a potential employer do a background check, etc. I had to pay $10 per bureau ($30) for each temporary lift of my freeze. The inconvenience of it was more of a nuisance than the price for me. However, I often felt that those without solid financial means might not take advantage of this service because of the per-incident costs and, therefore, put themselves at greater risk. I am extremely pleased that this is going into effect. Also, I find relief in knowing that whether I agree or disagree with the political climate, there are many in government working on behalf of the greater good. Thank you for that!
Sarah Casey
September 03, 2018
I don't think I have experienced anything in my lifetime that is so devastating, especially when children are involved, and frustrating and humiliating. I worked hard for my funds, which I think I have a legal right to have.