As of September 21, 2018, a consumer can order a credit freeze on their consumer account for free, and may also remove the freeze for free. Additionally, a consumer may order a freeze for their children under 16 years old. Fraud alerts may be placed on accounts now lasting for one year instead of the 90 days that an alert previously lasted.
Military personnel may institute an active duty alert, which places these year-long fraud alerts on their consumer account while deployed that will be renewable during the deployment. The new law also provides that the active duty alert will also remove military personnel for two years from marketing lists that provide prescreened credit card offers.
The EGRRCP Act was passed on May 24, 2018, and the changes became effective on September 21, 2018. A consumer must contact all three consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to place a freeze on the account. Once contacted, the freeze must be placed within one day. If a consumer wants to lift the freeze, the agencies are required to lift the freeze within one hour of the request if made by phone or online, or within three days after the receipt of a mailed request. The impact on banks is that a customer with a freeze on their account may easily request that the freeze be lifted prior to applying. All it takes is a request by the consumer to a credit reporting agency to remove the freeze.
Additionally, a consumer may now put a fraud alert on their account that lasts for one year instead of the prior 90 days. The fraud alert will require a business to contact the consumer prior to opening an account. To request a fraud alert, the consumer only has to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies – that one agency is then required to notify the other two agencies. For an active duty alert, the procedure is the same as the fraud alert. The service member is only required to notify one of the agencies, and the agency is required to notify the other two agencies.