CHICAGO – In the wake of hackers stealing extremely sensitive information on over 143 million Americans from Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency, state Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, is calling for legislation to prevent credit agencies from charging consumers to safeguard against identity thefts.
“Equifax let down their guard and as a result hackers stole sensitive information from millions of Americans,” said D’Amico. “When large corporations fail to safeguard their customers’ financial information, they should be required to help victims avoid identity theft instead of profiting from their negligence.”
During the breach, Equifax had the Social Security numbers, home addresses, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers and birth dates of millions of Americans stolen. Given the sensitivity of the stolen information, one of the first things that consumers should do if they suspect their data has been stolen is request a credit freeze with each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion), which often requires paying multiple fees. Credit freezes help protect consumers, as any scam artist who tries to open a fraudulent financial account in their name would require a special PIN to “unfreeze” the account.
The D’Amico-sponsored House Bill 4095 would stop credit reporting agencies from charging consumers for placing a freeze, removing a freeze, or temporarily lifting a freeze in order to help victims protect against credit fraud.
“Equifax was asleep at the wheel and allowed hackers to take priceless information on consumers,” D’Amico continued. “The big corporations trusted with collecting and protecting our personal information must be held to the highest security standards and held responsible when they fail to fulfill their duties.”
To freeze your credit, contact each of the credit bureaus using these phone numbers: