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On Tuesday afternoon, in response to the massive Equifax data breach last year, the California Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 823, authored by Senator Jerry Hill, to prevent the credit reporting agencies from charging consumers who request a "freeze" to keep our credit report information secure.
Statement by Emily Rusch, CALPIRG Executive Director:
“The credit reporting agencies did not ask consumers to collect our information. They are profiting off of selling our information to other businesses. And, in the case of Equifax, they are not even keeping our information secure. Consumers want and deserve more tools to protect ourselves from identity theft.
“SB 823 would help consumers access their right by law to a credit freeze, which prevents identity thieves from being able to access your credit report to fraudulently open up a new account in your name.
“First, SB 823 prohibits Equifax and other credit agencies from charging consumers to request, temporarily lift, or remove a credit freeze. It’s outrageous to charge consumers to keep our own financial information secure. Many other states already prohibit agencies from charging fees to consumers and California should do the same.
“Second, SB 823 makes the process quicker and much easier for consumers to initiate a credit freeze, notably through its “one stop” provision, which would give consumers the ability to place a freeze at all three major agencies through one request. California could be the first state in the nation to require this of the agencies.
“Finally, SB 823 gives consumers the assurance that when they need to lift their freeze to give potential creditors access to their report, they will be able to do so quickly and easily as well. We urge the California Senate to quickly pass this bill to give consumers the tools to protect ourselves.”
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