Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and a group of other Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill that citizens from both parties may be able to get behind — and it’s aimed at stopping Equifax from profiting off the recent data breach.
What does the bill do?
The Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act (FREE) would prevent credit reporting agencies from charging consumers for freezing and unfreezing their credit. Considering Equifax’s negligence is the main reason millions of people might consider freezing their credit, the authors of this bill don’t believe they should be able to charge people money for the service.
The bill would also:
- Create a uniform federal process for credit freezes;
- Prevent credit reporting agencies from selling lists of consumers for marketing purposes while their credit is frozen;
- Enhance fraud alert protections for consumers;
- Allow consumers to get a refund if they paid for a credit freeze after the Equifax breach; and
- Entitle consumers to an additional free credit report (currently consumers can get one per year).
Where does the Equifax situation stand now?
It’s still unfolding. Reports surfaced today that Equifax suffered a data breach in March, which they didn’t tell anyone about. The company claims it is unrelated to the more recent breach of 143 million consumers’ data.
Two top executives retired from the company late last week; the chief information officer and the chief security officer.
The Department of Justice is investigating the three executives for insider trading because they sold their shares before the breach was public.
And all that is in addition to the litany of ongoing federal and state investigations into Equifax.