SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To offer greater protection to consumers in the wake of the Equifax data breach, state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, is co-sponsoring a bill designed to prevent credit agencies from charging consumers with credit freeze fees to significantly reduce the chances of identity theft after breaches occur.
“The fact that people are being forced to sustain the costs of paying to protect their identity as it relates to financial security, simply due to the negligence of others, is horrendous,” Mussman said. “As powerful corporations begin collecting data on Illinois consumers, there should be a reasonable standard of safety that ensures personal information remains disclosed exclusively to the consumer. Paying for the mismanagement of such corporations is unacceptable.”
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. House Bill 4095 would prevent credit agencies like Equifax from charging consumers with a fee to freeze their credit.
“The Attorney General has been working thoroughly on this situation since the news broke that the financial records of 143 million Americans had been compromised,” Mussman said. “The potential exposure Illinois consumers could face as a result of Equifax’s data breach is serious and should be met with precautionary steps to reduce risks. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for all Illinois residents to take action by freezing lines of credit to minimize the further financial harm.”