Because of this more and more of our personal information is subject to online predictors. At this point, we have to work to protect ourselves. The Federal Trade Commission has helped us to implement procedures to assist in keeping our information safe.
In May of 2018, a new federal law, Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act was passed. Beginning September 21, 2018, you will be able to Freeze your credit file.
You will be able to contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies and direct them to place a freeze on your credit file. This will be a free service with no charge to the consumer. Once your credit report is frozen it will restrict the access which makes it harder for identity thieves to open new credit accounts or make purchases under a false identity.
If you have a freeze on your credit information it will not be accessible to run a credit check. So if you have a freeze on your account you will have to submit a request to unfreeze the information if you are wanting to make a purchase that will require a credit check. The process of unfreezing your information is also laid out in the new bill. The three major credit reporting agencies are required to unfreeze your account at your request at no cost.
The time frame for freezing and unfreezing is relatively fast. Credit reporting agencies are required to place the requested freeze on your account no later than one business day following the day of the request. If you are ready to make a purchase and your credit report is frozen you will have to make a request to unfreeze. The unfreezing process should take effect within an hour of the request being made.
As a consumer, this process will help keep you safe. As for businesses, this process will take some adjustments in the process of filling out credit applications and closing sales. Your sales team should be coached on how to have these conversations with potential customers and be able to effectively communicate how long a sale will take when using a credit application. In accordance with the new law credit reporting agencies are required to have online portals to assist consumers in making these requests online in a timely fashion. These online methods are scheduled to be available by September 21, when the law takes effect.
“Business Tips” was written by Dezaray Johnson, Certified Business Advisor, of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact her at Dezaray.Johnson@angelo.edu.