Senate approves consumer protection legislation
LANSING - The state Senate today unanimously approved legislation that will allow Michigan residents to freeze their credit report to protect their identity, said Sen. Randy Richardville.
Senate Bill 340, co-sponsored by Richardville, creates the Consumer Credit Protection Act to allow consumers to place a "security freeze" on their credit report. A security freeze would prohibit consumer reporting agencies from releasing an individual's report or credit score without expressed consent.
"One of the fastest growing crimes in our state is identify theft," said Richardville, R-Monroe. "This legislation will help protect Michigan residents by preventing the unauthorized opening of new credit. More than 27 other states have already adopted similar measures."
SB 340 requires the consumer reporting agencies to develop user-friendly processes for consumers to place and temporarily lift security freezes as well as receive reminders or replacements of passwords. The phased-in implementation included in the legislation will allow the consumer reporting agencies to develop secure systems to create an effective security freeze for consumers and ease any burden on businesses and sales.
"This bill was first approved by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee," Richardville said. "As chair of the committee, I am very familiar with the bill and am confident that this meaningful reform will help reduce the problem of identity theft in Michigan."
A 2003 Federal Trade Commission study found that identity theft costs U.S. businesses nearly $48 billion and consumers $5 billion a year.
A consumer security freeze is the newest tool to combat fraud of this nature. A freeze blocks access to a consumer's credit report in order to prevent any unauthorized opening of new credit. By freezing access to sensitive credit information, consumers are able to stop thieves from getting credit in their names.
SB 340 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
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