Sunday, February 11, 2007
Beginning in July, District residents can request that security freezes be placed on their credit reports at the three major credit bureaus. A security freeze prohibits the credit-reporting agency, except in some limited situations, from releasing all or any part of a credit report or any information derived from it without a consumer's authorization. A security freeze is designed to help prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent.
All consumers can request a security freeze for a $10 fee, or more realistically $30 to protect themselves at all three bureaus. Consumers who are victims of identity theft cannot be charged a fee. Residents will have to send the request for a freeze via certified mail.
Virginia and Maryland do not have credit-freeze laws, but legislatures in both states are considering measures to enact this useful consumer protection.