Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, and consumer expert Clark Howard testified in support of Senate Bill 376 during a hearing of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee in February 2018. Photo: Georgia Senate Press Office

Georgia Legislature votes to make credit freezes free in wake of Equifax breach

It might soon be free in Georgia to freeze your credit report to protect yourself from identity theft.

The Georgia Senate and House both voted Monday to approve identical bills that prohibit credit reporting agencies from charging customers to lock their credit reports.

The measures come in response to a giant data breach last year by Equifax, which exposed the personal information of at least 143 million Americans. 

Both bills would allow customers to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports with the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Under current state laws, the agencies can charge a $3 fee each time customers lock or unlock their credit reports. A locked or frozen credit report can’t be changed.

Equifax has already waived fees for placing and removing security freezes through June 30.

Consumer expert Clark Howard testified in favor of the bill earlier this month, saying it was “ridiculous” for credit bureaus that have failed to safeguard consumer data to charge for the service.

The Senate voted 51-0 to approve Senate Bill 376, and the House approved House Bill 866 on a 168-1 vote. Both bills advanced to their opposite chambers for final votes before being sent to Gov. Nathan Deal.

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