BOSTON (WWLP) - The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously voted to pass a key identity theft protection bill (An Act Removing Fees for Security Freezes and Disclosures of Consumer Credit Reports, HB 4232) which, if signed into law, will enable consumers to safeguard their personal financial information by allowing them to “freeze” and “thaw” their credit files for free, among other protections.
The credit protection bill comes at a time when many major corporations have been victims of data breaches, jeopardizing millions of people's personal and financial information. Five states already require credit bureaus to give consumers control over their credit information for free.
The three major credit bureaus - Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian - charge Massachusetts consumers $5 to freeze their credit reports and an additional $5 every time they want to remove the freeze. Without access to this information, identity thieves would be unable to obtain credit in that person’s name, minimizing potential for fraud.
Another protection included in the bill will require consent from a consumer before his or her credit report is obtained, and requiring encryption of personal information for entities with access to the personal information of large numbers of people.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
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