Friday, April 4, 2008

Credit freeze bill passes both chambers

House Bill 130 is legislation allowing consumers to freeze their credit reports. The bill aims to prevent identity theft by allowing consumers to block credit reporting agencies from giving out their information. The House and Senate came to an agreement on the main sticking point: how much the credit reporting agencies should be able to charge for this service. The compromise: a $3 charge when the freeze is instituted and $3 each time a consumer chooses to "thaw" the report to obtain credit information. The credit information about be available electronically within 15 minutes of a "thaw" request, keeping on-the-spot credit an option for shoppers. Consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch says that a credit freeze is a truly effective tool in stopping new account fraud, one of the most damaging forms of identity theft.

If Governor Perdue signs the bill into law, Georgia will become one of forty states to have passed credit freeze legislation and the 13th to adopt the 15-minute credit "thaw". The freeze would become effective August 1, 2008 and the thaw effective as of September 1, 2008.