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10/18/2018

Consumers Offered Free Credit Freezes to Protect Themselves from Identity Theft

Harrisburg, PA - A year removed from the notorious Equifax data breach, a coalition of Pennsylvania state government agencies is reminding consumers that under a new federal law they are entitled to free credit freezes from the three main credit monitoring agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.

“Restricting or ‘freezing’ your credit can stop criminals from stealing your identity and opening credit cards or applying for loans in your name,” said Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann, whose agency established a Cybersecurity Team in 2015. “Freezing your credit can help thwart the criminals who are trying to steal your personal information, which can be more valuable than your money.”

Changes in federal law mean that:

  • All consumer reporting agencies (credit bureaus) will be offering the following services for free: credit freeze, credit thaw, and credit unfreeze;
  • All credit bureaus will offer credit locks for a charge that can be utilized through a mobile app;
  • Parents may request a credit file be created and subsequently frozen for minors under 16; 
  • Fraud alerts will now last a year; and
  • Adds additional protection to veterans by offering free credit monitoring for all active duty military, including members of the National Guard

“Criminals using sophisticated internet weapons pose substantial risk to individual consumers and their families,” said Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. “Pennsylvanians need to educate themselves on ways to protect their information.”

Wiessmann and Altman point consumers to the ways to get free credit freezes:

Wiessmann and Altman also announced that the commonwealth cybersecurity guide “Protecting Yourself Online,” has been updated with new information about protecting your credit and cybersecurity.

The Department of Banking and Securities also offers online resources to help businesses protect themselves and their customers from cyberthieves.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Rementer - 717-787-3289

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