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CoPIRG applauds the members of the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee who voted to approve HB 1233 and give Colorado parents and guardians the authority to place credit freezes on the records of minors and individuals they legally represent. The bill is sponsored by Speaker Crisanta Duran (D) and Representative Polly Lawrence (R). It combines language from two previous bills that included Representative Kim Ransom (R) as a sponsor.
“I applaud the legislators who voted for this bill. It allows parents and guardians to place a credit freeze on their dependent’s credit information, which is one of the most important actions you can take to stop identity thieves,” says Danny Katz, Director of the consumer advocacy group CoPIRG.
The members who voted for the bill included Representatives Mike Foote (D), Susan Lontine (D), Adrienne Benavidez (D), Mike Weissman (D), Edie Hooton (D), Jovan Melton (D), and Dave Williams (R).
Credit freezes allow consumers to lock access to their credit history and scores, denying identity thieves the ability to open any fake accounts in their names. This is a critical tool in the wake of several high profile data breaches including a breach of 145 million consumer records at the credit reporting agency Equifax.
“HB 1233 gives parents and guardians a lock and key. Most importantly, the lock and key are free of charge. Parents and guardians should not have to pay to protect their children and dependents from problems they didn’t create. They should not be charged for doing the right thing and taking action to protect their child’s personal information,” says Katz.
HB 1233 next heads for a full vote of the House of Representatives.
Among the key provisions in HB 1233:
- Authorizes parents and guardians to place, lift, or remove freezes on the records that credit reporting agencies have for their children or their wards, described as protected consumers in the bill.
- If a credit reporting agency has not already created a record for the child or ward, it allows the parent or guardian to create a record so they can put a freeze on it.
- Requires credit reporting agencies to place, lift or remove freezes free of charge for those protected consumers.
“Getting credit freezes at all three national credit bureaus is the best action parents and guardians can take for themselves and for those they represent. We applaud Speaker Duran and Representatives Lawrence and Ransom for pushing these protections forward. It is great to see bipartisan support for protecting consumers and their financial information,” said Katz.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of September 1st, 2017, 29 states have a similar law that gives parents and guardians the ability to place and remove credit freezes on those they represent.
CoPIRG recommends that every Colorado consumer place a credit freeze on their records at all three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian - even if you have to pay. Currently, Colorado law allows you to get one free credit freeze but Coloradans have to pay to remove the freeze and for subsequent credit freezes. Residents in four states – South Carolina, North Carolina, Maine, and Indiana – do not have to pay to freeze, thaw or unfreeze their credit information at any time.
In response to their data breach, Equifax is waiving any fees to place a credit freeze on Equifax credit reports until June 30th.
For more information and for tips and advice on how to place credit freezes including contact information, check out CoPIRG’s website.
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