ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) – On June 11, the New York State Senate passed legislation to protect people from financial security breaches.
The measure, sponsored by Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Perinton), makes it easier for consumers to protect their credit information by prohibiting all consumer credit reporting agencies from charging a fee for the placement, lift or temporary removal of a security freeze.
A security freeze protects personal information from credit fraud and identity theft by preventing access to credit files.
Under current law, residents are not charged for the placement of their first security freeze, but credit reporting agency can charge up to $5 for a second or further credit freeze.
In addition, there can be a charge of up to $5 from each credit reporting agency for the temporary lifting of a credit freeze – an approach that is often used when an individual knows that they are about to apply for a new credit card, mortgage, or other loan.
This practice garnered attention after Equifax made the public aware of a security breach in its database in 2017.
Sensitive information, such as birthdays and Social Security numbers, of 143 million consumers was compromised.
As a result, many New Yorkers are being urged to place security freezes on their credit reports.
According to the Senate, this legislation would strengthen consumer protections by ensuring that individuals don't bear the cost of the many security freeze transactions that they are likely to undertake in the wake of the Equifax, or any other, date breach.
The Senate added that not only would this allow consumers to prioritize rebuilding their financial lives without bearing the financial cost of proper protections, but it also ensures that a credit bureau cannot profit from its lax data security.
The bill will now be sent to the Assembly.