House OKs Ackerman legislation to stop consumer report agencies from charging fees for security freeze services
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation (2018-H 7604) introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) that would prevent consumer report agencies from charging fees to those who choose to put a security freeze on their credit reports.
“If somebody suspects they have been victimized by identity theft, a consumer report security freeze can help the person track whether an identity thief is using information to set up bogus accounts,” explained Representative Ackerman, who submitted the legislation on behalf of the attorney general’s office. “There’s no need to punish consumers who are choosing a path of credit security and financial responsibility. I think this is good pro-consumer legislation.”
A consumer report security freeze limits a consumer reporting agency from releasing a credit report or any information from the report without authorization from the consumer.
“It’s safe to assume that at some point or another, every person’s information has been compromised through a data breach or something more criminal, making it more important than ever for consumers to exert greater control over their own personal information,” Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin said. “Credit bureaus make money from selling our personal information to third parties. They should not be able to profit off consumers who decide to take control over who has access to their personal data. I applaud the House for passing this legislation and putting consumers’ interests above that of the credit bureaus.”
A freeze also requires authorization to change information — such as the consumer's name, date of birth, Social Security number and address — in a consumer report. A security freeze lasts until the consumer removes it. A person can “thaw” or temporarily remove the freeze to open a new credit account or a new loan. To do this, a consumer must give the consumer reporting agency a special personal identifying number (PIN), which is required to verify the consumer's identity.
The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2018-S 2562) has been introduced by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903