Since the disclosure of the Equifax data breach in September, American consumers have been warned to be overly cautious and protective of their personal information. While data breaches occur more frequently than lenders would like to admit, the Equifax data breach was on an entirely different scale. The difference? Consumers were not in the driver’s seat. Consumers whose information was compromised did not have a choice and were not able to opt out of service from this credit reporting giant. In other words, consumers are customers of Equifax whether they like it or not. This breach leads us to ponder the question, is our credit reporting system the best available and best option for us?
Bills Proposed to Protect Consumers
Since the breach, several bills have been proposed in Congress that aim to affect how credit reporting agencies work and how they compile sensitive and private consumer information. Because consumers cannot opt out of the credit bureaus reporting their information, the bureaus should have an elevated duty to protect data. When credit reporting agencies report inaccurate information, consumers’ financial well being is compromised.
Controlling the Access to Personal Data
In an effort to protect consumer information from additional credit reporting agency breaches, big changes will be offered in early 2018 to allow consumers to control the access to their personal credit reporting data. Equifax claims this feature will be user-friendly and offered at no additional charge to consumers. No one is saying yet exactly what these changes will be, but are guaranteeing that they will provide consumers additional assurance and choice.
Penalties Given to Credit Reporting Agencies
Currently, critics say that when there is a data breach, the credit reporting agencies need to suffer. There should be big penalties incurred by an agency that lacks proper security of its consumers’ private information. The only way to guarantee improvement is by incurring penalties for not following the letter of the law.
If you believe your rights have been violated by the credit bureaus and they are reporting inaccurate information about you, contact us at SmithMarco, P.C. for a free consultation.