House Bill 953 passed unanimously out of its first committee today
At a joint press conference today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam H. Putnam along with Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Rep. Shawn Harrison (R-Tampa) urged lawmakers to eliminate the credit report freeze fee during the 2018 Legislative Session. Senate Bill 1302, sponsored by Sen. Brandes, and House Bill 953, sponsored by Rep. Harrison, aim to make it easier for Floridians to protect themselves from fraud. HB 953 passed unanimously out of its first committee, House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, today.
“Florida has the second highest number of identity theft complaints per capita with Miami, Naples, Tallahassee, and Orlando in the top 10 metro areas for these complaints,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “We know data breaches will continue to happen to no fault of consumers. No one should have to jump through hoops to protect themselves from fraud.”
“We should do all we can to make protecting consumers’ financial information even easier. Protecting consumers from fraud continues to be a top priority of mine,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
“Whether a data breach victim or a consumer wanting to protect themselves from fraud, Floridians should be able to easily freeze their credit without having to pay to do so,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes. “It’s the right thing to do.”
“We’ve seen time and time again the implications data breaches have for Floridians,” said Rep. Shawn Harrison. “There should not be a burden placed on the consumer’s shoulders just to protect their credit.”
Florida law currently allows credit report agencies to charge a fee of up to $10 to freeze credit reports, and data breach victims are required to submit paperwork to prove their identity is in jeopardy to avoid paying the fee. Four states (Indiana, South Carolina, Maine, North Carolina) do not charge fees to freeze credit.