A credit freeze is the greatest protection you have against identity theft, specifically new account fraud. In 2003, California became the first state in the US to pass a law giving its residents the right to freeze their credit. While this was a great step forward with California leading the way towards a better-protected public, the time has come to take the next step.
Credit freezes are highly effective, but they can also become costly and inconvenient if you plan to apply for new credit, an apartment or a new job that requires a background check. In each of these situations, you must lift the freeze on your credit file and then place the freeze again. Lifting and freezing with all three credit reporting agencies could cost you up to $60 and take days to accomplish every time.
California Senate Bill 823 (SB 823) will make credit freezes a more practical solution for Californians by
- making it free for all Californians to place, temporary lift or remove freezes on their credit
- simplifying the credit freeze process by requiring each credit bureau to forward the request to the other credit bureaus: allowing for a one-stop shop for all Californians
- requiring credit bureaus to lift freezes within 15 minutes of an electronic request
With massive data breaches such as last year’s Equifax breach compromising the personal information of millions, access to the benefits of a credit freeze should be easier for everyone. By passing SB 823, California has the opportunity to join nine other states leading the way towards usable privacy safeguards and a better-protected public.
So what can you do to help make this bill a law? If you're a California resident, contact your California State Senator and tell them you support SB 823 today!