Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act would make credit freezes free

It is beyond troubling that the credit bureaus charge us fees to prevent identity theft when we didn’t give them permission to collect and sell our information in the first place. And we certainly didn’t give Equifax permission to lose the keys to our identity, all 143 million of us.

Recognizing the threat of identity thieves using stolen info to open credit accounts in our names, consumer advocates fought to pass state laws giving us the right to protect our credit reports by freezing them. However, the bureaus, in nearly every state, demanded that freezing or thawing our own credit reports include a fee.

The Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act would finally correct this wrong and make credit freezes free to all consumers. It would also allow us to temporarily lift/thaw freezes for free when we want to apply for credit. Sens/ Steve Daines and Jon Tester should co-sponsor the FREE Act and work to get it passed immediately.

To adequately protect yourself, you should get freezes at all three bureaus. In Montana, it costs $3 to get a freeze and $3 to temporarily lift a freeze at each bureau. Both should be free to do.

-- Patrice N. Snow, Montana Public Interest Research Group, Missoula

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