Proos’ credit freeze bill approved by Senate

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LANSING—Michigan residents would be allowed to place a security freeze on their credit information under legislation approved on Wednesday by the Michigan Senate, said Sen. John Proos, sponsor of the bill.

“Identity theft and credit fraud wreak havoc on millions of lives every year — impacting victims with legal fees and hours of their time spent trying to clear their name,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “More than 11 million Americans in 2010 became victims of identity fraud, costing them $54 billion countless hours of frustration. And victims of this crime are not limited to adults.”

According to a Carnegie Mellon University study, children are 51 times more likely to become victims of identity theft than their parents.

“The most effective way to prevent this credit fraud is to allow a person to place a freeze on their credit report, which effectively blocks the issuing of new credit,” Proos said. “Unfortunately, Michigan is one of the only states without a credit freeze law in place. My bill would require all three major credit reporting agencies to allow Michigan residents to place a freeze on their credit reports and also those of their children.”

The FBI reports that as the fastest growing group of Internet users, Americans over age 60 are targets of Internet fraud more often than the general population. Identity theft among seniors accounts for about 10 percent of all ID theft cases, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Seniors are frequently targeted for scams. Quick responses that can safeguard their resources like those found in SB 174 are helpful,” said Lynn Kellogg CEO, Region IV Area Agency on Aging.

Senate Bill 174 would allow individuals to use a secure pin number to place or to lift a freeze on their account through the credit reporting bureaus. 

“So that legitimate applications for new credit or services could be processed, my measure would allow a consumer to temporarily lift the freeze when applying for credit by contacting the reporting agency and providing identification,” Proos said. “The goal of this reform is to ensure that every Southwest Michigan consumer has the ability to protect themselves and their families from credit fraud.”

SB 174 passed the state Senate unanimously and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Sen. Proos also are available on the senator’s website at: www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”

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