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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: October 4, 2017 10:36 AM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Credit Freeze

In September, 143 million Americans’ personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit card reporting agencies. Over 5 million commonwealth residents were included in this breach. One of the steps suggested to help an individual after a data breach is to place a credit freeze on their files which makes it harder for someone to open a new credit card or loan in that individual’s name.

Currently, in Pennsylvania, when a person places a freeze on their credit, the freeze remains in place until the consumer requests to remove the security freeze or at the end of seven years from the date that the freeze was put into place. The amount to place a credit freeze or to temporary unfreeze is $10 to each of the reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and Transunion). However, a consumer may not be charged for permanently removing the freeze.

In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that would change Pennsylvania’s law to allow an individual to place a lifetime freeze on their credit which is the case for the majority of the United States. With the increase to this timeframe, my bill will also lower the maximum amount to be charged to $5 by each of the reporting agencies to temporary unfreeze one’s credit. This will allow individuals to sign up for a credit card or apply for a loan without having to pay hefty fees.

A consumer website recently found that commonwealth residents are paying more than almost every other state to freeze and temporary unfreeze their accounts. I feel that my legislation will lessen the financial burden for those who are trying to be financially responsible while also helping to protect individuals from identity theft for a longer amount of time.

Introduced as SB944