New Federal Law Allows You to Freeze Your Credit Free of Charge

iStock
iStock

If you’re worried that someone nefarious may have gotten ahold of your sensitive personal data from a data breach or a phishing scheme, freezing your credit is one of the best ways to make sure your finances stay secure. And now you can do it for free, thanks to a new law that requires major credit bureaus to let you to freeze and unfreeze your credit without incurring any charges, according to USA Today. Previously, this could cost up to $12 per bureau, though charges were already prohibited in a few states.

Under the new federal law, which took effect September 21, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—the three main credit bureaus—in any state without a fee. The legislation also extends fraud alerts on credit reports, allowing you to keep an alert on your account for a year instead of just 90 days.

Freezing your credit means that you’re restricting access to your credit report, which lenders typically need to see before they open a new account for you. Debt collectors and organizations you already have credit with can still access your account, but if, for instance, a scammer tries to open a new credit card or take out a loan, the process will be halted when the creditor can’t access your report. In order to let someone access your report, like if your future landlord needs to take a look, you have to unfreeze it temporarily yourself.

Fraud alerts are less drastic than credit freezes, and may be a better fit for some people who are looking to protect themselves from fraud. Instead of totally freezing access to your credit report, a fraud alert requires lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity before opening a new account in your name.

Data breaches are becoming frighteningly common, and not even credit bureaus are immune. In 2017, an Equifax hack exposed the personal information of millions of people, including social security numbers, tax identification numbers, and driver’s licenses. At least 147.9 million Americans were affected. After the breach, many security experts suggested that customers whose information may have been stolen freeze their credit. Anyone who had the bad luck to be involved in the scam had to decide whether or not to pay Equifax and other credit bureaus to protect their identities, even though they weren't responsible for the breach in any way—no one gets to choose whether or not credit bureaus collect data on them. Now, at least, if your information is exposed through a company’s bad security practices, you can't be charged a fee for it.

[h/t USA Today]

America’s 10 Most Hated Easter Candies

Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Whether you celebrate Easter as a religious holiday or not, it’s an opportune time to welcome the sunny, flora-filled season of spring with a basket or two of your favorite candy. And when it comes to deciding which Easter-themed confections belong in that basket, people have pretty strong opinions.

This year, CandyStore.com surveyed more than 19,000 customers to find out which sugary treats are widely considered the worst. If you’re a traditionalist, this may come as a shock: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps, and solid chocolate bunnies are the top three on the list, and generic jelly beans landed in the ninth spot. While Peeps have long been polarizing, it’s a little surprising that the other three classics have so few supporters. Based on some comments left by participants, it seems like people are just really particular about the distinctions between certain types of candy.

Generic jelly beans, for example, were deemed old and bland, but people adore gourmet jelly beans, which were the fifth most popular Easter candy. Similarly, people thought Cadbury Creme Eggs were messy and low-quality, while Cadbury Mini Eggs—which topped the list of best candies—were considered inexplicably delicious and even “addictive.” And many candy lovers prefer hollow chocolate bunnies to solid ones, which people explained were simply “too much.” One participant even likened solid bunnies to bricks.

candystore.com's worst easter candies
The pretty pastel shades of bunny corn don't seem to be fooling the large contingent of candy corn haters.
CandyStore.com

If there’s one undeniable takeaway from the list of worst candies, it’s that a large portion of the population isn’t keen on chewy marshmallow treats in general. The eighth spot went to Hot Tamales Peeps, and Brach’s Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits—which one person christened “the zombie bunny catacomb statue candy”—sits at number six.

Take a look at the full list below, and read more enlightening (and entertaining) survey comments here.

  1. Cadbury Creme Eggs
  1. Peeps
  1. Solid chocolate bunnies
  1. Bunny Corn
  1. Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits
  1. Chocolate crosses
  1. Twix Eggs
  1. Hot Tamales Peeps
  1. Generic jelly beans
  1. Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails

[h/t CandyStore.com]

Mifflin Madness: Who Is the Greatest Character on The Office? It's Time to Vote

Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.
Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.
NBC

Your years of watching (and re-watching) The Office, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary, have all led up to this moment. Welcome to Mifflin Madness—Mental Floss's cutthroat competition to determine The Office's greatest character. Is Michael Scott the boss you most love to hate? Or did Kevin Malone suck you in with his giant pot of chili?

You have 24 hours to cast your vote for each round on Twitter before the bracket is updated and half of the chosen characters are eliminated.

The full bracket is below, followed by the round one and round two winners. You can cast your round three vote(s) here. Be sure to check back on Monday at 4 p.m. ET to see if your favorite Dunder Mifflin employee has advanced to the next round. 

Round One


Round Two


Round Three


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