Why should I use a credit freeze? If your personal information was exposed in a data breach or you’re a victim of identity theft, imposing a freeze on your credit with each of the three major credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—is usually the best way to stop an identity thief from getting credit in your name.
After you place a freeze on your account, a third party who tries to look at your credit file will get a message that the account is frozen and won’t be able to access the account. Because most creditors look at a credit report before giving a loan or extending credit, a freeze usually stops an identity thief from opening up new accounts under your name. (To get a checklist of the recovery steps you should take if your identity has been stolen, see Stolen Identity? Take These Recovery Steps.)
How much do freezes usually cost? Current state laws typically require most people to pay a fee of between $2 and $10 each time they place, temporarily lift, or remove a credit freeze. In Michigan, credit freezes used to cost $10, unless you were already the victim of identity theft. Now, it's free to place, temporarily lift, or remove a freeze in Michigan.
Under a new federal law, credit freezes will become free for everyone—no matter where you live—on September 21, 2018.
Effective date: June 17, 2018