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Senator Fuschillo: New Law Provides Free Credit Report Freezes For Domestic Violence Victims To Protect Them From Financial Harassment By Abusers

 

Photo caption: Senator Fuschillo (center) discusses the new state law with Suffolk County Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Jo Anne Mitidieri Sanders (left) and Alice Agostini, the Coalition's Director of Counseling and Education (right).

State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo today announced a new state law that he authored that allows victims of domestic violence to place and lift a freeze on their credit report free of charge.   The law provides a layer of protection for domestic violence victims against abusers who would try to use their credit to open up accounts, apply for credit cards, or misuse their good credit in any way.

Senator Fuschillo (8th District), Chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee, said, “This new law allows domestic violence victims to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports for free as often as they need to protect themselves from abusers trying to ruin them financially.”

When an individual requests a security freeze be placed on their credit report, lenders and others are prevented from gaining access to the information in that report. Currently, there is no cost to place a security freeze on a credit report for the first time, but a fee of up to $5 is charged by credit report agencies for a second and  subsequent freezes as well as to remove a security freeze.  

For victims of identity theft who provide a copy of a signed police report, there is no charge for second and subsequent freezes or for lifting a security freeze.  This new law (S. 5543-E) extends that same free service to domestic violence victims.  To be provided the free service, domestic violence victims must present a Domestic Violence Incident Report Form, a police report, an order of protection or a signed affidavit to a credit reporting agency.

“This is an important step in protecting victims of domestic violence from being harassed by their abusers through financial ruin.  Unfortunately, we have many clients who have had situations where their names were used for taking out loans and credit cards.  Victims then have to recover their good credit and at the same time worry about their safety and the safety of their children,” said Jo Anne Mitidieri Sanders, Executive Director, Suffolk County Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    "Our agency strongly supports the enhancements this law creates because they will help protect the identity and security of domestic violence victims. Domestic abusers often inflict serious financial damage on their victims, forcing them to worry about both their physical and financial safety. This new law will make it easier for victims to protect themselves," said Sandy Oliva, Executive Director of the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The new law is already in effect.


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