Senator Proposes Early Warning Alerts to Curtail Identity Theft
Senator Charles Schumer has proposed an idea that would help identity theft victims, and possibly limit the damage caused by these breaches.
Schumer, a Democrat from New York, wants the three largest credit reporting firms–Equifax, TransUnion and Experian–to immediately send a ‘credit inquiry alert’ to consumers whenever their credit records are requested, which usually takes place when a new account is being opened.
If the consumer was not opening the account, the inquiry would be unauthorized and the consumer would know their data had been compromised. This would allow consumers to immediately place a credit freeze on their account, preventing any further illegal activity from taking place.
The alert would be in the form of an email or phone call. Consumers would need to opt in for such a service.
Schumer sent a letter to the CEOs of the three credit reporting agencies.
“Despite widespread hacking and identity theft across the country, consumers are not notified when access to their credit is requested to create a new account. Instead, consumers are often in the dark until their credit is drained or their credit score has tanked,” said Senator Schumer in a statement on his website.
If the credit reporting agencies were not willing to implement an alert system, Schumer indicated he may pursue the idea with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Schumer’s proposal comes in the wake of a rash of data breaches that have rocked consumers during the past two years.