The new federal law that took effect Sept. 21 about free credit freezes for all is yielding a lot of questions. Here are some I received this past week: Q: In your column last week about credit report freezes now being free, it wasn't clear whether there is any cost to unfreeze them, or whether there is a subsequent cost to re-freeze. D.H., Cleveland A: Under the new federal law, there is no cost to freeze, thaw, unfreeze or refreeze. In most cases, you'd probably be talking about freezing your credit files initially and then, when someone needs to check your files, you likely would thaw your file for perhaps a week to cover that query. You might temporarily thaw your file for a specific period of time if you were applying for a credit card or car loan, for example. Or if you prefer, you could freeze and unfreeze, and then refreeze it once you got your business taken care of. You might do this if you were mortgage shopping. Q: One thing you might want to address in a column is … [Read more...] about Free credit freezes prompt lots of questions: Money Matters
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An Alabama man was awarded over $3 million after a federal jury determined a credit reporting agency falsely reported a debt on his credit report. Last month, a jury in the Northern District of Alabama issued a $3,005,000 verdict for Shaun Younger. Younger had sued Experian Information Solutions, Inc. pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, after her saw Experian was continuing to report a debt he didn't owe. After Younger noticed the error, he sent a letter to Experian, along with proof he did not owe the debt, and asked the company to investigate his claim. Experian refused to investigate the dispute, according to a press release from Younger's attorneys, and told Younger they believed his dispute letter was suspicious. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires a credit reporting agency to investigate a dispute after it is notified by the consumer. Younger's dispute letter was sent to a post office box in Texas, the press release stated, and was forwarded to Experian's mail room. … [Read more...] about Alabama man awarded multi-million-dollar verdict against credit reporting agency
Last Updated Aug 31, 2011 1:51 PM EDT When was the last time you checked your credit report? I know; it's not the most exciting way to spend your lunch break -- but you may want to take advantage of your annual free credit report (available at annualcreditreport.com) and review it for possible errors. Nearly 75% of respondents in a recent poll by CardRatings.com said they had found at least one error in their credit report. Mistakes on your credit report can be costly. Your credit score could suffer, making it more difficult to qualify for the best interest rates on credit cards and consumer loans. Depending on the severity of the error, you also could find yourself at risk when applying for a rental or even a job. CardRatings offers the following steps to properly fixing your credit report inaccuracies. 1. Gather the Evidence 2. Submit a Dispute in Writing Or you can send in your dispute online, which is secure and much faster. You could even submit your dispute both ways -- just … [Read more...] about Credit Report Mistakes? 3 Steps to Get Them Fixed
NEW YORK -- Freeze your credit reports before you get burned. That's the message from security experts, consumer advocates and some state Attorneys General. They say more people should consider a credit freeze as a way to block identity thieves from opening new credit cards and other accounts in your name. They recommend a freeze even if your identity hasn't been stolen. "It's much better to shut the door before it even takes place," says Mike Litt, a consumer program advocate at the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "You can save yourself so much time and headache." I didn't listen, and now I regret it. Someone recently applied for 10 credit cards in my name and opened two wireless phone accounts. Removing the fraudulent activity off of my credit reports took hours: I had to make several phone calls, send paperwork and fill out a police report. And my credit score will probably be hurt temporarily until everything is removed. I could have avoided all that if I had frozen … [Read more...] about Why you should consider freezing your credit reports
It’s password-changing time again. Yahoo’s announcementthat a “state-sponsored actor” had pilfered data, potentially including concealed passwords, from half a billion accounts in late 2014 represents one of the largest such security breaches ever disclosed. The “good” news — if we can call it that — is that the passwords were concealed and that the hack doesn’t appear to have directly involved credit cards or bank accounts, according to Yahoo’s announcement. Credit card accounts probably won’t be affected. But “probably” is not “certainly.” If you tend to reuse passwords across multiple sites, now’s the time to stop, and to change those passwords. And Yahoo is still encouraging people to check their credit reports. Not another Target When you hear “data breach,” you might think of what happened to Target in 2013. About 70 million customers were affected, and — worse … [Read more...] about Will the Yahoo breach compromise credit cards?