In the wake of the Equifax data breach, a lot of groups and individuals are calling for radical reforms within the three major credit bureaus. Among those seeking major changes are the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Pennsylvania Attorney General (AG), and the AGs from most of the other states. Now, Republican Representative Patrick McHenry from North Carolina has thrown his own hat into the credit bureau reform ring. Representative McHenry has proposed a bill dubbed the PROTECT Act (not to be confused with the PROTECT Act of 2003). Stating that the bill focuses on “prevention, protection, and prohibition,” McHenry believes that “credit reporting agencies should be held to the same standards and supervision as the rest of the financial industry.”
How the PROTECT Act Aims to Create Safer Credit Reporting for Consumers in Pennsylvania and Other States
The part of McHenry’s bill receiving the most attention involves protecting consumer Social Security numbers from the credit bureaus. This may do nothing to console over five million Pennsylvania consumers whose Social Security numbers were stolen in the Equifax breach. However, moving forward, it could, potentially, help millions of other Pennsylvania residents.
This major part of the PROTECT Act would phase out the use of Social Security numbers by credit reporting agencies by 2020. It is unclear as of yet what would replace Social Security numbers as consumer identifiers. Although, it was suggested that the credit bureaus would randomly generate and assign identifying numbers for credit reporting purposes.
The PROTECT ACT also calls for the following.
A National Framework for Credit Freezes
Currently, many Pennsylvania consumers find the credit report freezing process confusing. This part of McHenry’s bill would force each the three major credit bureaus to create and implement one simplified process. The bill may also lift all current fees charged in most states for credit freezing and unfreezing.
Federal Cybersecurity Reviews
Recently, the major credit bureaus have drawn scrutiny from the CFPB. But, in the past, security standards within the credit reporting agencies were not highly regulated. This bill, however, subjects the bureaus to reviews from federally appointed officials and ensures cybersecurity updates.
Uniform Security Standards
The PROTECT Act would take away the credit bureaus’ current autonomy when it comes to security measures. Instead, consistent, uniform security standards would be mandatory for all three major credit reporting agencies.
Frequent, Onsite Examinations
This is similar to the CFPB’s call for constant, internal monitoring of the major credit bureaus. Except, here, with the PROTECT Act, the proposed monitoring is frequent instead of ongoing. This proposal, like the one from the CFPB, would allow outside agents to examine credit reporting procedures to ensure accuracy and security.
Would this New Bill Help Pennsylvania Consumers Get Accurate Credit Reports?
Again, for the more than five million Pennsylvania consumers affected by the Equifax breach, reforming the credit bureaus may seem like “too little, too late.” Yet, these measures might protect the credit future of young or yet-to-be-born Pennsylvanians.
In addition to protecting consumer information from hackers, more regulation may bring more accuracy to credit reporting. Right now, about 80% of Pennsylvania credit reports contain errors of some kind. Granted, creditors cause some of these mistakes by reporting the wrong information to the credit bureaus. However, the credit reporting agencies are also guilty of mishandling consumer information on a regular basis.
This is why all Pennsylvania consumers should check their credit reports at least once every 12 months. First, in the wake of the Equifax data breach, those affected should monitor their credit reports for signs of identity theft. Then, while going through their credit reports, Pennsylvanians should look for inaccuracies that can harm their credit scores.
If you find fraudulent items or errors on your credit reports, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Pennsylvania. Right now, calling our firm about your credit issues is the best way to get accurate credit reports – for FREE. When you contact the credit pros at Credit Repair Lawyers of America, an experienced credit attorney will get you clean credit reports no matter what it takes. Even if fixing your credit requires filing lawsuits on your behalf, this, like all of our services, costs you nothing out of pocket.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let fraudulent accounts 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? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. 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 (856) 912-3511 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair, please visit https://creditrepairlawyersam.com/pennsylvania/credit-repair/. Or, to learn more about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, check out https://creditrepairlawyersam.com/pennsylvania/fix-identity-theft/.