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Lawmakers push credit report legislation after Equifax breach

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Lawmakers are putting forward legislation to catch and correct credit reporting errors in the wake of the massive Equifax hack in which the personal information of 143 million Americans was stolen.

Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) reintroduced legislation on Monday aimed at making it easier for Americans to prevent and resolve identity theft, fraud and credit report mistakes.

{mosads}The “Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (SECURE) Act” would direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to establish minimum standards for credit reporting agencies.

Currently, credit reporting agencies are not required to correctly match individuals’ names, addresses or Social Security numbers. In many cases, this leads to credit card reports with inaccurate information. Under the proposed legislation, agencies would be required to resolve any errors that they find.

The SECURE Act would also make it easier for consumers to interpret their credit reports by giving them information on who sees their credit scores and explaining how banks and other institutions use their scores.

The lawmakers say the proposed legislation would also make credit reporting agencies more transparent for consumers, who often have little information on who collects their data and how it’s being used.

The legislation additionally calls for the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the impacts and costs of creating a national credit reporting system.

“This is one of several important steps Congress can take in the wake of the Equifax cybersecurity breach,” said Schatz. “Because these credit agencies operate in the dark, they are allowed to be terribly unfair and unaccountable.”

Schatz pressed Equifax CEO Richard Smith earlier in the day, asking that Equifax do more to help individuals affected by the breach.

In a letter to Smith, Schatz blasted Equifax for charging potentially affected customers for freezing their credit to protect them from identity theft.

Schatz also pushed Smith for more answers on what Equifax is doing to resolve the impacts of the hack and details on what pre-emptive measures it took beforehand.

Senate Commerce Committee leaders John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) sent Equifax a letter demanding similar answers on Friday.

Tags Bill Nelson Brian Schatz Claire McCaskill Elizabeth Warren John Thune
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