ICFE eNEWS #07-19 - October 24th 2007
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Now, Everyone Can Freeze Their Credit Files
Credit Freezes Can Also Help Rein in Credit Based Spending

San Diego, CA. - No, it was not the result of an act of Congress; rather it was quite simply common sense, a rarity these days at most levels of government and private enterprise alike. The wave of common sense thinking first hit at TransUnion Corporation earlier this month when they announced all consumers would be eligible to freeze their credit files regardless of whether or not they had become the victim of credit or identity theft. It wasn't long after that Experian and Equifax both followed suit.

As of November 1st, 2007 any consumer in the USA can opt to have their credit files frozen for a nominal $10 fee at any of the three major credit reporting agencies. If someone is a victim of identity theft, there is no charge, if they submit a police report along with the initial freeze request.

Already there is a senator from New York state who wants the CRAs to make it free to all consumers who want to freeze their credit files. He says if the CRAs don't make it free, he will introduce legislation to bring that about. ICFE promotes credit freezes for all consumers as a way to help insure privacy, protect private information and guard against credit theft and also as a way to stop new credit based spending. If someone has to go through the credit file freeze lifting process, they may think twice about opening a new line of credit.

Family members or some thieves can still get a driver's license in a another consumer's name and maybe a cell phone, but they won't be able to get any new credit, if the files are frozen.

Some credit file freeze opponents argued credit freezes hurt consumers and slowed down the time it takes to get credit when it is really needed. This was a very weak argument coming from those who are against giving consumers the un-encumbered right to restrict who has access their personal credit files. All one needs to do is send in a freeze request via Certified Mail and enclose $10.

The temporary lifting procedure is easy too and can be done over the phone. The three CRAs send detailed instructions on how to allow temporary access. In most instances, temporarily unfreezing a credit report over the phone a consumer would need a credit card, for the fee and the PIN. The temporary lift can be for a few days or a week.

The ICFE has examples of opt-out letters from unwanted credit offers and also three variations of a letter requesting a credit file freeze available for download on www.financial-education-icfe.org. Please click on "Credit Freeze Letters."

For copies of sample credit freeze letters: please visit ICFE.info.

For more information contact: ICFE Executive Director Paul S. Richard - 619-239-1401.


About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org).  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org.  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

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