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Steve's News from Annapolis

2017-04-21

I was recently contacted by a constituent asking for my assistance after he became the victim of Identity Theft.  As a result, I asked the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to assist me in addressing his problem.

Since the security of credit and personal identity is so important, I wanted to share the information provided by the OAG.  I greatly appreciate the OAG's response and hope you find this information helpful.

Remedies available under Maryland law. 

 

First, Maryland has provided free credit reports to consumers prior to the enactment of FACTA (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) and the free credit reports under Maryland law were grandfathered in.  Accordingly, between  the federal free credit report requirement (www.annualcreditreport.com) and the Maryland requirement, Maryland residents are entitled to two free credit reports each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, which makes it easy for a consumer to monitor his or her own credit report without signing up for a credit monitoring service.

 

Second, if the constituent obtains a police report indicating that the constituent is a victim of identity theft, the constituent is entitled to place a freeze on their credit report without paying the fees allowed under Maryland’s security freeze law.  A freeze is an effective means of preventing identity theft since potential creditors cannot get access to the consumer’s credit report without the consumer’s express permission.  A security freeze provides protection against identity theft, whereas credit monitoring only notifies a consumer of activity on the consumer’s credit report after the fact.

 

Third, under legislation enacted by the General Assembly this session effective October 1, 2017, all Maryland consumers will be entitled to place a security freeze on their credit reports without paying a fee, whether or not they have been a victim of identity theft.  However, a consumer may still be charged if they need to temporarily “thaw” the freeze in order to apply for credit.  That fee may not be charged to an identity theft victim.

Contact Steve

Contact Delegate Lafferty
By Phone: 410-841-3487
By Email: stephen.lafferty@house.state.md.us

Contact the Campaign
By Phone: 410-377-4521
By Email: lafferty@delegatelafferty.com

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