Through its TrueIdentity program, TransUnion offers free credit locks to consumers. Then, after its massive data breach, Equifax dropped its fees for credit freezes. Although, at least for now, these free credit freezes are only available for a limited time. So, of the three major credit bureaus, Experian is the only one not offering free credit freezes or locks following the Equifax breach. This, understandably enough, is not acceptable to the Illinois Attorney General (AG). So, an assistant to Illinois AG Lisa Madigan sent a letter to Experian’s CEO on behalf of the Illinois AG. This letter also has the support of the AGs of 35 other states, as well as the District of Columbia.
Currently, seven states won’t allow the credit bureaus to charge fees for credit freezes, and two more may join them soon. Of course, the Assistant Illinois Attorney General pointed out this fact in the Letter to Experian. It’s also interesting to note that Equifax already asked Experian to lift credit freeze fees, and Experian said “no.” However, with this new pressure from the Illinois AG and most of the other AGs in the country, this holdout credit bureau may change its mind.
Why Experian Has Refused to Lift Credit Freeze Fees – So Far
When former Equifax chief executive, Richard F. Smith, appeared before a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he asked Experian to offer free credit freezes. Six hours later, Michael Troncale, an Experian spokesperson responded with an emailed statement:
“We are looking at broader solutions that can help consumers effectively and securely operate in the credit economy, but it shouldn’t be done based on crisis-mode responses from Equifax.”
Since then, critics of Experian’s refusal to waive credit freeze fees have spoken out. They suggest that Experian has a more selfish motive. If Experian charges fees and makes it harder for consumers in Illinois and elsewhere to freeze their credit, they will have fewer files frozen than TransUnion or Equifax. Then, Experian can sell more credit reports to lenders, employers, and credit card companies.
Whether or not Experian eventually agrees to offer free credit freezes is important to Illinois consumer affected by the Equifax breach. This is because credit report freezes are only effective when consumers freeze (or lock) their files with all three major credit bureaus.
How Illinois Consumers Who Don’t Freeze or Lock their Credit Reports Can Protect Themselves Against Identity Theft
In addition to credit report freezes and locks, Illinois consumers can sign up for a credit monitoring service. These services alert consumers about any new credit report activity, and most of them cost around $20 a month. Right now, Equifax offers its TrustedID Premier credit monitoring service for free, for a year.
The good news is that Illinois consumers can do a lot to protect themselves against identity theft by regularly checking their financial statements and credit reports. Most people have online access to their checking, savings, and credit card accounts. Therefore, they can do a daily scan on their phones to make sure that no bogus charges pop up.
As for your credit reports, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act entitles you to check all three of them, for free, every 12 months. You can request credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian all at once by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. This is a secure site, and the only federally authorized website offering free credit reports.
If, while checking your credit reports, you come across obviously fraudulent items, you are likely an identity theft victim. Once you realize this, you should immediately file a police report. Then, you should call Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Illinois.
As an experienced credit repair law firm, we know that credit report recovery after identity theft is often frustrating. This is why we handle the entire process for our clients, from start to finish. We’ll do whatever it takes to get you clean credit reports, and this, like all of our services, is absolutely free.
The Free and Legal Way to Get Better Credit After Identity Theft
Don’t let identity theft damage on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (773) 360-0665 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/illinois/identity-theft-repair/.