Worried about data breaches? Starting today, you can freeze your credit for free

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Freezing your files at the big three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — is one of the best ways to protect yourself from financial identity theft. Starting Sept. 21, everyone can do it — for free.

Until now, it could cost as much as $10 to freeze your file at each credit bureau, depending on your age and where you live. That same fee applied to unfreeze or “thaw” the file, if you wanted to apply for credit. And then, you had to pay again to refreeze it.

In the wake of the last year’s Equifax mega-breach of nearly 148 million personal records, Congress passed a law that requires the credit bureaus to offer this important fraud protection free of charge. Now, you can freeze and thaw and refreeze your account as many times as you want, and it won’t cost anything.

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