A view of a sign for the company Equifax on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, New York, USA, on 15 September 2017.

Fees to freeze credit reports could be banned in Georgia after Equifax breach

Customers whose personal information was exposed by Equifax’s giant data breach shouldn’t have to pay to keep their credit safe, says state Rep. Scot Turner.

He introduced House Bill 866 on Wednesday to make it free for Georgians to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports with the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. 

Georgia law currently allows the agencies to charge a $3 fee each time customers lock or unlock their credit reports.

“The credit reporting agencies are custodians of that data, and if they have a significant data breach like we have seen, the public should not have to pay a fee to that same agency that has messed up,” said Turner, R-Holly Springs.

Equifax, which is based in Atlanta, announced last fall that information for about 143 million Americans might have been compromised in a large hack.

Equifax has waived fees for placing and removing security freezes through June 30, said spokeswoman Nancy Bistritz.

“Equifax is happy to discuss changes to the Georgia state laws with legislators and improve consumer protections and the credit data regulatory framework,” she said.

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the free credit freeze proposal and declined to comment.

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