In an effort to increase identity theft protections, consumers will have the option to freeze their credit files free of charge, starting on Friday.
“A security freeze prevents an identity thief from opening new credit and charge accounts in your name,” said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. “It is the quickest and easiest way to make sure your personal and financial information stays safe, and I encourage everyone to do it.”
Previously, residents had to pay a $5 fee.
The new federal law takes effect a little over a year after the massive data breach at Equifax credit bureau.
Also, when a consumer places a freeze, the credit bureau issues a PIN that can be used to temporarily “thaw” the account so he or she can apply for a new loan or charge account. The “thaw” will be free as well.
Instructions for how to place a credit security freeze are on the Attorney General’s website at https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/consumer-resources/credit-security-freeze.
A security freeze will not affect or lower a credit score.