New Identity Theft Protections Effective Tomorrow Should Be More Affordable & Easier to Use, Says Rep. Maloney
WASHINGTON – Starting November 1, the three major credit monitoring bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – will begin offering consumers in all 50 states the option of freezing their credit reports and preventing identity thieves from opening accounts in their name. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee and author of federal legislation that would create a national “file freeze” standard, applauded the Bureaus (see links to letters below) and urged them to take additional steps to make their file freeze services more affordable, faster, and easier-to-use.
“I applaud Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for taking this important step forward. File freeze is a powerful tool that can stop identity thieves cold in their tracks, and it’s wonderful that consumers in all 50 states will now have access to it,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “I urge each of the bureaus to take the additional steps to make their file freeze services faster, easier, and more affordable. High costs, cumbersome procedures, and obscured information erect unnecessary barriers to consumers who need to freeze their files and protect themselves from identity theft.”
Right now, consumers in 39 states, including New York, and the District of Columbia have the ability to “freeze” access to their credit reports whenever they so choose. File freeze laws vary state to state, as do freeze fees.
Read Congresswoman Maloney’s letter to TransUnion applauding the credit bureau for being the first to voluntarily offer the nationwide file freeze service, and urging it to make the service more affordable and easier to use for its consumers: http://maloney.house.gov/documents/financial/consumer/20071031TransUnionLetter.pdf
Read Congresswoman Maloney’s letter to Experian applauding the bureau for making it quick and easy for its customers to lift their file freeze and access their credit again, and urging it to make the service more affordable and even easier to use: http://maloney.house.gov/documents/financial/consumer/20071031ExperianLetter.pdf
Read Congresswoman Maloney’s letter to Equifax applauding the bureau for making file freeze available to consumers in all 50 states, and urging it to make the service more affordable and easier-to-use for its customers: http://maloney.house.gov/documents/financial/consumer/20071031EquifaxLetter.pdf
This summer, Congresswoman Maloney and the late Congressman Paul Gillmor (R-OH) reintroduced federal file freeze legislation, the “Identity Theft Protection Act of 2007” (H.R. 3316), that would create a uniform national freeze standard, as well as a central source where consumers can interact with the three national credit bureaus.
Maloney and Gillmor’s bill would also allow consumers to thaw and remove their freeze within 15-minutes if using the phone or the internet; give consumers the power to thaw and remove their file freeze for free; and provide a free file freeze option to victims of identity theft and those that have received a notice of a data breach. For more information on H.R. 3316, click here.
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, is offering an updated “Guide to the Security Freeze” online at www.FinancialPrivacyNow.org. The organization is also urging the three credit bureaus to make their file freeze services faster, more affordable, and easier to use.