New Bill Proposes Free Credit Freezing after Equifax Breach
Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Brian Schatz recently introduced a bill to make credit freezing and unfreezing free to all consumers. The bill is designed to ensure that Equifax cannot profit from the aftermath of its data breach, which affected over 143 million Americans.
A credit freeze prevents a person from applying for a loan or line of credit. This is beneficial during times of identity theft because it protects victims from unauthorized debt or damage to their credit. Credit freezing is a proactive solution, rather than retro-actively contacting a credit bureau once an issue arises.
Credit freezes can cost anywhere from $2 to $10, depending on a person’s location. It also costs money to lift a credit freeze. Equifax recently agreed to waive its credit freezing fee for 30 days and refund anyone who paid for a freeze after the data breach. The new bill, known as the Freedom From Equifax Exploitation Act (FREE Act), would make free credit freezing the standard for all three bureaus, well beyond the one-month timeframe.
The cybersecurity incident is still under investigation, but Equifax has made some personnel changes. The Chief Information Officer and Chief Security Officer are retiring, and new executives have been appointed in their place.