Sen. Elizabeth Warren Introduces Equifax Bill, Seeks Free Credit Freeze for U.S. Consumers
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) this morning introduced a bill that seeks to end the nightmare for most U.S. consumers seeking to protect themselves from the fallout of the massive breach of Equifax credit services.
Her bill, co-sponsored by other Democrats in the U.S. Senate including Brian Schatz of Hawaii , will give consumers the right to freeze their credit without incuring additional fees.
The Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act will compel all three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to let Americans easily freeze and unfreeze their credit for free, banning all fees.
Depending on your state of domicile, fees for freezing and unfreezing your credit currently runs between $5 and $10 per request per credit company.
Experts believe that ending this fee could save American consumers millions of dollars.
Equifax announced last week that its servers were breached by hackers and the confidential information of over 143 million Americans compromised.
“Credit reporting agencies like Equifax make billions of dollars collecting and selling personal data about consumers without their consent, and then make consumers pay if they want to stop the sharing of their own data,” Sen. Warren said in a statement.
“Our bill gives consumers more control over their own personal data and prohibits companies like Equifax from charging consumers for freezing and unfreezing access to their credit files. Passing this bill is a first step toward reforming the broken credit reporting industry.”
The Equifax bill will also require all three credit reporting agencies to refund all fees they charged Americans for freezing their credit following the Equifax hack and limit the ability of the credit agencies to profit from consumers’ data during the credit freeze while giving consumers access to their credit information free of charge during the freeze.
Sen. Warren sent letters to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission demanding additional information on investigations into the Equifax breach. She also wrote to the credit reporting agencies seeking clarification on the steps they are taking to control fallout from the breach.
Other Democratic senators are speaking up against Equifax.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Wednesday Equifax “stunningly and epically” failed in its mandate to protect consumers’ information while assailing the data breach as “one of the most egregious examples of corporate malfeasance since Enron.”
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