Georgia’s Credit Freeze Law Takes Effect August 1, 2008
On May 13, 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law a credit freeze bill that will provide Georgia consumers with the ability to place a freeze on their credit file for only $3 per credit-reporting agency, a total of $9 to report to all three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The freeze will be free for senior citizens 65 and older and for victims of identity theft. Each temporary lift, commonly called a “thaw”, to allow access to the consumer’s credit file would also cost $3 and access would be available electronically within 15 minutes of request submission, keeping on-the-spot credit an option for shoppers. The legislation will become effective August 1, 2008.
With the signing of this bill, Georgians have gained a new weapon in the fight against identity theft. When a freeze is in place, credit reporting agencies may not release the consumer’s credit file unless the consumer first removes the freeze by providing their password.* Most lenders and creditors rely on access to a consumer’s credit file to determine their credit worthiness. By denying such access, a credit freeze makes it very difficult for a would be identity thief to open an account in a victim’s name.
To place a credit freeze on your file, consumers must contact the credit reporting agencies at the addresses below:
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Requests should include the following identifying information:
- Full Name (and former name if applicable)
- Current Address and former address if it changed in the last 5 years
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Photocopy of a Driver’s License, State ID card, or other Government-Issued Identification
- Proof of current residence, such as a copy of a phone or utility bill
- If you are a victim of identity theft, include a copy of either the police report; investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft
- If you are not a victim of identity theft, include payment by check, money order or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover cards only.) Do not send cash in the mail.
*The law does give some companies access to reports despite a freeze such as insurance companies, existing creditors, and law enforcement agencies.