(TNS) — Floridians that are victims of data breaches could freeze their credit free of charge under a proposal moving through the Legislature.
Following the Equifax data breach that compromised information on more than 145 million Americans last year, Florida lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to eliminate fees to temporarily halt access to credit records at the behest of consumers. Florida would follow a handful of other states that have moved to eliminate fees.
Recent credit card breaches at retailers and credit bureaus, has convinced lawmakers and state elected officials to give consumers the ability to stop access to their credit reports. That would stop new accounts from being opened with data obtained during breaches.
“There need to be better ways for consumers to protect their credit,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, whose office is pushing for the law.
The major credit reporting agencies charge a $10 fee to freeze credit accounts.
After it announced it’s data breach in September, credit bureau Equifax said it was allowing victims to freeze their credit for six months. It recently extended that another six months to give consumers until June 30.
But states have moved ahead to give a legal right to freeze credit reports without a fee. There are nine states where credit freezes are already free and states such as Iowa, Washington and Florida are considering laws to make the credit freezes free.
The bill has passed the Florida House and a Senate committee. Next it would face a full vote before the Florida Senate.
©2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.