Consumer News

AG Derek Schmidt praises Legislature for making security freezes free for Kansans

Release Date: Mar 27, 2018

TOPEKA – (March 27, 2018) – Kansans will no longer have to pay a fee for credit reporting agencies to “freeze” or “thaw” access to their credit reports under legislation that won unanimous approval today by the Kansas Legislature.

The measure, House Bill 2580, was introduced in January at the request of Attorney General Derek Schmidt. It would prohibit the credit reporting agencies from charging Kansans who wish to freeze access to their credit reports as a measure to help prevent identity theft. It also would prohibit fees for requests to temporarily allow access to a consumer’s report, a process known as a “thaw,” for legitimate credit purposes.

“Kansas already prohibits the credit reporting agencies from charging a fee to place or lift a security freeze on the account of a person who is a victim of identity theft,” Schmidt told the legislative committees in testimony supporting the measure. “It seems to me reasonable to allow this same treatment before the horse is out of the barn, so to speak, and make no-fee security freezes and thaws available to any Kansans who want to protect against identity theft in this way.”

The legislation was inspired by complaints about the fees from Kansans affected by last year’s data breach at credit reporting giant Equifax. More than one million Kansans – one-third of the state – had their sensitive personal information compromised, and many wished to take steps to prevent identity theft by placing a freeze on their credit reports. But the credit reporting agencies were charging a fee of $5 for each freeze and an additional $5 for each thaw.

The bill was approved 117-0 in the House of Representatives in February and 40-0 in the Senate today. It now goes to Gov. Jeff Colyer for his consideration.

For more information about security freezes and other measure to help prevent identity theft, see www.InYourCornerKansas.org.

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