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Chiaravalloti, Danielsen Bill to Lift Fees Related to Security Freezes from Consumer Reports without Charge Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Joseph Danielsen to forbid a consumer reporting agency from charging a consumer to remove or temporarily lift a security freeze on their consumer report was advanced by the full Assembly on Thursday.

The bill (A-360) amends the New Jersey “Identity Theft Prevention Act” to protect consumers against these unfair fees.

“It is unacceptable that consumers currently have to pay their credit agency to gain access to their own private, personal information,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “As the ultimate owners of such information, consumers should be able to use it freely.”

According to the sponsor, the New Jersey “Identity Theft Prevention Act” currently allows credit agencies to charge a fee of no more than $5 if a consumer would either like to lift the security freeze from his consumer report, or if a consumer forgets his personal identification number to gain access to his account; causing the agency to having to issue a new one.

“In some cases, the need to enact or remove a credit freeze is urgent for consumers,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “They should not be subject to the added step of paying a fee to their credit agency in these instances. This bill will help to remove the hassle and stress of making a payment before a consumer is able to access his or her own personal information.”

“Credit agencies hold especially personal information such as social security numbers, tax identification numbers, and credit cards numbers,” noted Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “Consumers reserve the right to put a credit freeze, the most effective way to protect them against identity fraud, on their information as well as take that extra layer of security off when they need to without any fees.”

The bill was passed by the Assembly 70-1-0.