Breen Legislation that Helps Protect Illinoisans in Wake of Equifax Data Breach Sails through Illinois House

On September 7 of this year, one of the country’s three main credit agencies, Equifax, announced a cybercrime that exposed 145.5 million U.S. residents to the potential of identity theft. Of those who had their names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and other personal pieces of sensitive information compromised, 5.6 million were from Illinois. On Thursday, legislation that helped prevent Illinoisans from becoming victims of identity theft sailed through the Illinois House in a unanimous vote.

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 4095, said Illinoisans should have the right to protect themselves when data breaches of this magnitude occur without having to pay fees. “The Equifax breach was massive,” said Breen. “The sheer volume of information that was left exposed could have had devastating consequences for Illinoisans. As lawmakers, it is our duty to make it as easy as possible for our residents to protect themselves from identity fraud.”

In Illinois, credit agencies can currently charge up to $10 each time a consumer freezes their credit report, but HB 4095 would now set that fee at $0, prohibiting credit agencies from charging those who need to freeze their reports. The legislation also requires that consumers be allowed to request a credit freeze by either phone or online communication, not just via certified mail. “As soon as information about the Equifax data breach was made public, a bipartisan group of lawmakers went to work on legislation to help Illinoisans protect themselves,” Breen said. “It was a pleasure to help write this bill and I appreciated the unanimous support it received in the House.”

HB 4095 now moves to the Illinois Senate, where it will be considered when lawmakers return to Springfield on November 7. If approved in the Senate and signed into law, the provisions of the bill would take effect immediately.

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