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New law aims to protect credit

A new federal law will allow people to freeze their credit and receive year-long fraud alerts for free on September 21.

A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, making it harder for others to open new accounts in your name. Currently, freezing your credit involves fees, depending on the state, the new law will let people freeze and unfreeze your credit throughout the country.

Also, a child’s credit can be frozen until the child is old enough to use credit. Currently, some state laws allow you to freeze a child’s credit file, the new act will grant permission to free credit freeze for children under age 16.

Customer Service Representative Becky Bauer with Mercantile Bank says it is important for people to be proactive and she has seen how stressful it can be for people who’s credit has been ruined due to fraud.

“Lot’s of steps to go through, lots of headaches and it can be a long time getting everything resolved to your satisfaction, so anything you can do, these new laws make it easy, Bauer said.

Credit check companies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion must each set up a web page for credit freezes request on Friday.

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