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Free credit freezes proposed

(Missourinet) A state lawmaker wants to make it easier for Missourians to freeze their credit or for parents to freeze their children’s credit.

Missouri law waives the charge to a consumer of freezing his or her credit if the individual is the victim of identity theft. Representative John McCaherty (R-High Ridge) wants to bar credit reporting agencies from charging a fee any time a consumer wants a freeze enacted.

“We want to make it preemptive,” McCaherty told Missourinet. “There’s no reason in the world, if you’re not going to use your credit … then there’s really no reason for us to charge that fee.”

He says credit reporting agencies would still be able to collect fees for credit reports or from people who request credit information. He says the bill is about making it easier for people to protect themselves from credit thieves.

“I don’t think the consumer ought to have to pay to protect their own information,” said McCaherty.

His bill would also allow parents to freeze the credit of their children under 16. He says with social security numbers issued right after a child is born, a person’s credit could be stolen before he or she would ever try to use it.

“Social Security cards are issued pretty much right off the bat,” said McCaherty. “Here we have Social Security Numbers out there, names, legal birth, credit history – that’s all someone needs in order to steal somebody’s identity.”

He’s proposing both changes in the session that starts a week from tomorrow.

 

The legislation is HB 1618.

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