Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Credit freezes are hot with consumer advocates concerned about identity theft and privacy protections. Starting this week, Washington residents have even more control over their credit files thanks to changes that are also helping more retailers warm up to the law.

As of Sept.1, 2008, Washington consumers who want to open new credit, apply for a mortgage or take out an insurance policy have an easy way to provide temporary access to their frozen credit reports. A law requested by Attorney General McKenna and unanimously approved last year by the Legislature provides consumers with the ability to instantly “thaw” their credit files, instead of waiting up to three days.

“The new 15-minute ‘thaw’ in our credit freeze law is as convenient as the defrost feature on your microwave,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said today in a news release. “Your credit files are ready when you want them to be.”

Another cool feature this month: free freezes for all seniors age 65 and older who request them.

The three bureaus now allow consumers to request a freeze online. Consumers used to have to make a request by certified mail. And for the time being, TransUnion is allowing any consumer to request a free freeze via the company’s Web site. Check out the Attorney General's Web site for instructions on obtaining a freeze or a fraud alert.

 

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