NEW ACTION ALERT! As we announced earlier this year, AARP Massachusetts is supporting legislation that would remove fees to place or remove a credit report security freeze, which is an easy way Massachusetts residents can help protect themselves from identity (ID) theft and fraud. When we issued an Action Alert, asking you to contact your legislators to urge them to sign on as sponsors of this legislation, you did so with great results!
The legislation has been filed in both the House and the Senate: House Bill 134 (H.134) and Senate Bill 130 (S.130). State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) and state Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenberg) are legislative sponsors of the bill.
Now, we're issuing a new Action Alert, asking for you to contact your House member, to urge her/himto favorably support this legislation.
“In 2015 alone, over 40,000 Massachusetts residents were impacted by some form of identity theft or fraud. We are only going to see an increase in these numbers unless we take a proactive approach to educating residents and implementing policies that help protect identities from further threats. Removing fees for freezes and copies of credit reports is a commonsense protection for consumers of all ages, at no cost to the state. I am looking forward to working on this bill this session.” — Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenberg)
A credit report security freeze allows an individual to voluntarily choose to restrict access to her/his credit report. A credit report security freeze can make it more difficult for criminals to steal an identity by opening new accounts in someone’s name. It does not affect the person’s credit score, and can be removed at any time. Residents can learn what a credit report security freeze does and does not cover in these FAQs from the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website.
The three major credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — each charge a $5 fee every time a Massachusetts resident requests that a credit report security freeze be placed on her/his credit file. Residents must also pay an additional $5 fee to each agency every time they request removal of a freeze on their credit file.
Massachusetts residents who’ve been victims of identity theft may place a credit report security freeze on their file at each agency without paying a fee as long as they provide a copy of a police report detailing the ID theft. To check their credit file, however, victims must pay an $8 fee per agency to obtain a copy of their credit report.
The House and Senate legislation (H.134/S.130) would remove all fees when placing, suspending and/or removing a credit report security freeze , regardless of the number of times a freeze is placed or removed — and would also remove the $8 credit report fee for those who are victims of identity theft.
ACTION ALERT: Please ask your House member to support H.134, An Act Removing Fees for Security Freezes and Disclosures of Consumer Credit Reports.
“I am excited to work with AARP and sponsor this bill which will give consumers control of their credit without having to pay fees. Our seniors, in particular, are frequently the victims of fraud and identity theft and I look forward to advocating on their behalf to help protect them and their finances.” — Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover)
Consumers can learn more about credit report security freezes on the Identity Theft section of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s website.