SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, prohibiting consumer reporting agencies from charging fees to individuals trying to prevent identity theft by freezing their credit reports is now law.
“In the wake of the Equifax data breach, consumers are looking for greater protections for their personal and financial information,” said Halpin. “One of the best precautions to block thieves from opening new accounts in your name is to freeze your credit, which up until now could carry a fee. Working families shouldn’t have to pay more when companies that make billions of dollars collecting our personal data can’t keep it safe.”
The Halpin-backed House Bill 4095 was introduced in response to the Equifax data breach that occurred in May and was reported in September of last year. It is estimated that 5.4 million Illinois residents’ personal information was compromised as a result of the breach. Although Equifax waived its fee for credit freezes through June 30, Halpin helped pass House Bill 4095 to extend permanent protections to consumers against security freeze fees imposed by credit reporting agencies. The measure passed the Illinois House and Senate with strong bipartisan majorities and was recently signed into law by the governor.
“Consumers should not have to pay a fee to the entity that compromised their personal information to protect that same information,” said Halpin. “I am pleased that we now have protections in place in Illinois to prevent the credit bureau industry from profiting off their own errors by charging unnecessary fees.”