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I hope this bill is still alive. I intend to contact my representatives to express my support.

There is something very ironic about the existing procedure for getting a credit freeze - All three credit bureaus insist on payment by _credit_card_ for the freeze!

Someone like me, who hasn't used credit for years, but who still has a credit report, and is therefore a possible target for id theft - well, I'd have to first apply for a credit card, hopefully get one, then and only then could I get a credit freeze.

Just the last twist of the knife by the credit bureaus.

A side anecdote, fresh in my mind: A friend of mine was in Rome with a new credit card, which was deactivated in the middle of her trip. The reason: Experian has something called 'Fraud Sheild', which will issue a warning to a lender when something on a credit application doesn't match Experian's data. So. . . Experian had some bad data, then strands my friend in Europe, and this they they call a 'service'; their way of helping to fight id theft.

In case you're wondering, she's back home, thanks to a little help from her friends.


Banks help create the identity theft problem with unsolicited mailings, etc, playing fast and loose with your personal data. Then they and the credit reporting agencies show up, protection racket style, with programs supposedly designed to help you prevent the problem they helped create, except they're purposefully ineffective.

If credit freeze legislation were enacted in Massachusetts, two things would happen almost immediately: (1) the scourge of identity theft would cease; (2) the revenues of the credit reporting agencies would take a substantial hit, both near and long term. That's why there's been a major effort at the national level by to get legislation passed which will effectively reverse the states' hard won credit freeze legislation, which has been rolling across the country.

There's big money involved, so don't expect relief from Washington on anything dealing with the banking brotherhood. Perhaps a compromise of Congress' personal data files, and the inevitable ensuing identity theft ... Naw. That would be too much to hope for.


Jordan - I think probably because it's tough to pinpoint that a particular company's breach was what caused your identity theft. That information is probably held by thousands of companies and all they would need to show is that there's a possibility that your information was stolen through another breach. I think we should legislatively penalize the companies when there is a breach, class actions will be too hard!


I've been waiting for someone to sue the companies that allowed the theft.

Making them liable would do wonders for companies to clean up their act.

A few good class action suits would probably whip these companies into shape!

Why hasn't there been one?



I'm so glad you're doing something about this, let's hope that this time around there is more will in the legislature to finally get it done.

Stepping back for a second, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian seem to think that they own our information. They don't want any kind of protections for our information because they make money either way. The credit card companies (who also oppose this bill) don't seem to care either. Yes, they lose lots of money, but those are write-offs, and they must have figured out a way that they end up winning in the end because they are able to sign up more and more people for credit that they can't afford.

Do you know that there is *no* way you can opt-out of having a credit report? What if you are 70 years old, have paid off your mortgage, and you don't want your information floating around where people might be able to sign you up for other reports? Can you call up the credit reporting agencies and "block" people from accessing your credit or signing up new credit? No. It's your personal information and yet you have no control over it.

The security freeze is crucial and it's about time that Massachusetts consumers are given control over their personal information. Placing a security freeze on your credit report is the only way to protect yourself.

I know that the bill filed last year by Senator Barrios and Rep. Strauss bill didn't have any fees for creating a security freeze, or unfreezing your report. I hope this is how the bill remains and that it passes the legislature. The worst thing that could happen is some heavy fees by the industry charging consumers to control their information.

Eric Bourassa

Not a week goes by that we don?t hear of another security breach of
some kind at a bank, retail store, other business or even a
governmental agency. While this most recent example at Stop & Shop is
unique in the way in which credit and debit card numbers were stolen,
it further highlights the need for stronger identity theft prevention
laws in Massachusetts.

As Senator Barrios has pointed out, in the face of inaction at the
federal level, states across the county have stepped up and passed
breach notification requirements and security freeze provisions.
Both of these laws are critical in preventing identity theft, but
unfortunately not in place in Massachusetts.

One might ask, who would be opposed to these commonsense protections? The answer is big companies that collect our information for marketing purposes etc. like banks, retail stores, and credit bureaus. Entities that collect and store personal identifying information don?t want to suffer the cost and embarrassment of being required to notify their
customers if a breach occurs. And credit bureaus don?t want individual
consumers to be able to freeze their own credit reports because that
would eat into the growing business of selling bogus monthly credit
monitoring products that give consumers a heads-up when their credit
report has been accessed, but does nothing to stop new credit accounts
from being issued (worst type of ID theft).

What's disgusting is that for years the credit reporting agencies Experian, Transunion, and Equifax have fueled the problem of
identity theft by allowing so much of our personal and financial
information to be accessed by just about anyone for any reason, and
now recognize that they can capitalize on the fear of identity theft
by selling a weak credit ?monitoring? product for $12.99 a month. They
are making huge profits off a problem they helped grow. And fighting
the real solution, strong security freeze laws.

While we're hopeful the legislature will pass a strong bill this year,
these big corporations hire the best lobbyists money can buy to
water-down reforms. That?s why it?s so important for people who want
stronger identity theft protections to contact their own state Rep or
Senator and urge them to make identity theft a priority and support
legislation filed by Sen. Barrios, Rep. Michael Costello and Rep.
William Straus (Call the State House at 617-722-2000).

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