Costs to un-freeze credit could melt in Maryland

WASHINGTON — Lifting credit freezes could be free for Marylanders if the governor approves a bill moving through the General Assembly.

Freezing credit is free in Maryland, but credit bureaus can charge consumers $5 every time they want to lift the freeze, said Del. Ned Carey, a Democrat who represents Anne Arundel County.

“This bill protects Marylanders, plain and simple,” Carey said.

Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, a Democrat who represents Harford County, sponsored the bill along with Carey.

If the bill passes, Maryland will join the three states where consumers cannot be charged for lifting credit freezes. The state is currently one of 18 with similar legislation in the works.

This bill comes less than a year after a major Equifax breach in which about 148 million American consumer financial records were stolen. Carey said that breach inspired legislators to create this bill.

“It outlays any minimum costs to the reporting agencies,” said Sen. Susan C. Lee, a Democrat representing Montgomery County, “because reporting agencies … collect your data, your sensitive data without your authorization, and they use it for all sorts of commercial purposes.”

The bill is likely to move on to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

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