U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Wednesday announced new legislation to help protect Michigan families from credit breaches such as the Equifax hack, which compromised the personal data of 143 million Americans and 4.4 million people in Michigan. Stabenow’s legislation, the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) Act, holds credit reporting agencies accountable and provides Michigan families with more control over their credit information and more options to protect themselves when their data is compromised.
“People have every right to be outraged over Equifax’s failures,” said Senator Stabenow. “Companies that hold our most sensitive information need to be held accountable and should be subject to additional oversight. These companies are a long way away from regaining the confidence of consumers, but my legislation is an important step in that direction.”
Credit reporting agencies like Equifax hold vast amounts of data on millions of Americans yet lack adequate safeguards against hackers. This bill enhances fraud alert protections, and forces Equifax and other credit reporting agencies to refund any fees they charged for credit freezes after the breach. The bill also stops companies like Equifax from charging consumers for freezing and unfreezing access to their credit files. And, it would allow consumers to receive an additional free credit report.
The National Consumer Law Center Consumer Action, Americans for Financial Reform, CREDO, National Association of Consumer Advocates, the Center for Responsible Lending, Public Citizen, and the Consumer Federation of America support this bill. More information on the FREE Act, including bill text and a fact sheet, may be found here.