CHICAGO – To protect Illinois consumers impacted by the Equifax data breach, state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, has introduced legislation which will prevent credit agencies from charging consumers with credit freeze fees, which are essential in preventing identity theft after data breaches.
“It’s wrong that people are being forced to pay to protect their own identities and financial security because of the errors of others,” Harris said. “When giant corporations that collect data on Illinois consumers can’t keep our personal information safe, we shouldn’t have to pay for their mismanagement.”
Late last week, Equifax announced it had suffered a massive data breach of sensitive consumer information from May to July of this year, impacting as many as 143 million Americans. In Illinois, the breach is believed to have jeopardized the personal and financial information of more than 5.4 million residents.
To reduce the potential for identity theft resulting from the data breach, Attorney General Madigan is encouraging residents to consider placing a freeze on their credit and to sign up for free credit reports. Harris has introduced House Bill 4095, which would prevent credit agencies like Equifax from charging consumers with a fee to freeze their credit.
“The massive Equifax data breach is yet another painful reminder that companies who collect our sensitive personal information should be held to the highest security standards,” Attorney General Madigan said. “Requiring Equifax and other companies that control our financial data to provide free credit freezes is a necessary measure now that Equifax has lost the treasure trove of information a criminal needs to steal our identities and ruin our credit.”
“Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been working diligently on this issue since the day the news broke about the exposure of the financial records of 143 million Americans,” Harris said. “I want to thank her for immediately giving public guidance to people about steps they should take to protect themselves, and also her work with other Attorney Generals to require Equifax to pay for the damage and added expense their security failure has caused.”