On the heels of the announcement that 143 million American consumers were impacted by the Equifax security breach, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), has reintroduced the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act, which contains landmark reforms to improve the nation’s credit reporting system.
“This hack into sensitive information compiled and maintained by Equifax is one of the largest data breaches in our nation’s history,” Waters has said.
Credit reporting agencies compile and maintain files for about 200 million Americans and the Equifax data breach was proof positive to Waters that more needed to be done to repair the nation’s credit reporting system.
“Consumers should not have to suffer the consequences for a credit reporting system that is so clearly broken,” said Waters. “In most cases, consumers would have the option of ending ties with a company, like Equifax, that is unable to keep their identifiable information confidential. Unfortunately, consumers currently don’t have that option. Since consumers can’t opt out of dealing with this broken industry, it’s long past time for Congress to enact comprehensive reforms.
“My bill is a complete overhaul of our nation’s credit reporting system, taking the burden off of the consumer while holding credit reporting agencies accountable.”
With millions of Americans at risk for fraud and inaccuracies on their credit reports, the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 2017 would fix the dispute process so that credit bureaus, not consumers, bear the burden to prove the accuracy and completeness of credit information and restore the impaired credit of victims of predatory activities and unfair practices. The bill would also restrict the use of credit information for employment; limit the amount of time negative information can stay on a credit report and provide free credit monitoring and identity theft services to vulnerable consumers.
In a statement Equifax CEO Richard F. Smith said “Our top priority is doing everything we can to support affected consumers. Our team is focused on this effort and we are engaged around the clock.”