Starting next week, consumers will be able to "freeze" their credit reports at no cost. A credit freeze restricts public access to a consumer's credit report, making it much more difficult for identity thieves to open fraudulent accounts. Previously, state laws allowed credit bureaus to charge consumers $2 to $10 to place or lift credit freezes. Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act also extend the time period for a fraud alert in a consumer's file and create new safeguards for the protection of credit records of minors. Following the Equifax data breach in 2017, EPIC President Marc Rotenberg testified before the Senate Banking Committee and recommended free credit freezes and other consumer safeguards to mitigate the risk of identity theft.
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