With a massive data breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax possibly exposing an astonishing 143 million Americans to identity theft and fraud, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D–Hawaii, has reintroduced his Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (which he shortens to “SECURE”) Act. The bill would help consumers by making credit reports more accurate and easier to understand as well as give regulators over the agencies more authority.
“The impact on Equifax’s impacted customers is potentially devastating,” Schatz wrote in a Sept. 11 letter to Equifax CEO Richard Smith. “As a result of identity theft and fraud, Equifax customers now face the risk of having debt accrued in their name. They could suffer long-lasting damage to their credit, and as a result, they could be denied loans, mortgages, employment, or even rental housing. Those approved for loans and mortgages may be charged higher interest rates. To resolve the damage done by this data breach, they will likely spend months, if not years, trying to resolve resulting errors and problems with their financial records.”
Schatz says his bill is supported by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, Claire McCaskill, D-MO, Richard Blumenthal, D-CN, Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and Jeff Merkley, D-OR. Schatz first introduced his SECURE Act back in 2014, but it quickly died in committee.
“Missouri consumers should be able to have quick, secure access to reports about their own credit,” said Senator McCaskill in a Sept. 11 news release from Schatz’s office. “We’re seeing companies take advantage of consumers by making that process difficult–and too often, subject to court proceedings when disputes come up. In light of last week’s Equifax hack, it’s more important than ever we ensure better, safer access to these reports, so that folks can get an accurate picture of their financial health, and hold these companies accountable when there are mistakes.”
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