No Fees for Consumer Protection

An episode of Planet Money made me think about freezing my credit and the urging of Jon Oliver on Sunday motivated me to act. Now two state legislators have introduced a bill that would prohibit credit reporting companies from charging me for this safety measure.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Sen. David Carcucci recently crafted legislation that requires hacked credit reporting agencies to provide lifetime identify theft prevention services and prohibits fees relating to the implementation of security freezes on consumer credit reports. If enacted, the companies would be required to tell affected consumers about these rights.

As I recently learned, a freeze on your credit report will stop anyone from opening a credit card in your name. The downside is that the consumer will have to eventually pay to unfreeze their credit.

“This legislation aims to establish the minimal amount of long term protection consumers could ask for, and even still it is just that, the bare minimum,” reads the bill memorandum.

“The magnitude of this breach won’t be known for years, but the status quo where consumers must bear the burden to protect their own identities is unacceptable. To date, Equifax has offered to waive fees for security freezes for a short time period, and offered 12 months of identity theft prevention services at no charge. This response is simply insufficient given that innocent people’s information was stolen through no fault of their own.”

The Assembly bill has 17 co-sponsors, including Dinowitz, but Carlucci is the lone sponsor of the senate version.

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