Following the Equifax data breach of 2017, over 145.5 million U.S. residents were left with exposed personal data. This number includes 15 million California consumers, or nearly half of the Golden State’s population. Now, because the stolen information included names, birthdates, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers, all of those affected are much more vulnerable to identity theft. In the wake of the Equifax breach, California consumers scramble to do everything they can to protect themselves. Many have turned to credit report freezes and locks and credit monitoring services, and a large number of California residents have filed complaints with Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Also, the California Attorney General, along with AGs from other states, has called for investigation of and answers from Equifax. Several lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups have since argued that the entire credit reporting industry is flawed and in need of radical reform. Then, chief consumer watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has its own plans. CFPB director, Richard Cordray, argues that the Bureau should have more regulatory control over the credit bureaus. However, many lawmakers – and consumers – think the CFPB is already too powerful. Because of this, not everyone in California and the rest of the U.S. is on board with Cordray’s decision.
How the CFPB Believes It Can Protect California Residents by Having More Control Over the Credit Bureaus
As part of its plan to exert more regulatory control over the credit bureaus, the CFPB wants to install internal monitors. Cordray explained:
“We are going to have to have monitoring in place that’s preventive. It’s going to have to be a different regime than they’re used to. If they are going to restore public confidence in this marketplace, and if they’re going to create the kind of reforms necessary, they are going to have to recognize that the old days of just doing what they want, and being subject to a lawsuit now and then, are over.”
Right now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is primarily in charge of enforcing cybersecurity standards within the credit bureaus. Yet, strangely enough, the FTC doesn’t have much authority over TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Therefore, the CFPB aims to claim this authority in order to introduce stricter regulations with the credit reporting industry.
Of course, lawmakers in California and in other states have strong arguments against this proposal. They’ve pointed out the fact that the CFPB has had its own problems with protecting consumer information. In fact, this is one of the main criticisms leveled at the newly released CFPB payday loan rule. This rule allows the CFPB access to sensitive consumer information, and many lawmakers don’t think the Bureau can protect this data from cyberattacks.
How California Residents Can Protect Themselves Against Identity Theft Regardless of What Happens with the CFPB
As mentioned earlier, California consumers affected by the Equifax data breach can freeze or lock their credit reports. Signing up for a credit monitoring service is another good option. And, for a limited time, Equifax is offering all consumers a free year of its TrustedID Premier credit monitoring service. Or, if you don’t trust Equifax, choose from several paid credit monitoring services that cost around $20 a month.
All of the 14.5 million California consumers affected by the Equifax Hack should regularly check their financial statements and credit reports. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), entitles all consumers to free copies of their credit report from each of the major credit bureaus every 12 months. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com to request credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian in one place.
If you do find signs of identity theft, such as bogus transactions or fraudulent accounts, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in California. When you call the credit pros at our firm, an experienced credit attorney will fix your credit reports for free.
The Free and Legal Way to Get Better Credit After Identity Theft
Don’t let fraudulent items or errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (916) 438-9400 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/california/fix-identity-theft-ca/.