Boston, MA - A new law, signed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker earlier this month, states that consumers will now be able to receive free credit monitoring after a data breach and “security freezes.”
The law will go through in approximately ninety days. According to the information provided, the law will require entities that hold consumer data. In addition, the law has been hit with a security breach in order to offer the supposed credit monitoring for free. This will only be implemented in certain situations, not all.
One of the main reasons this law has gone into effect is due to the increase in identity thefts. For instance, identity thieves have accomplished opening credit accounts with stolen information that they’ve retrieved through data breaches. This “freeze” that will be allowed through the newly implemented law will keep such funds and information safe.
More specifically speaking, this is how the process will go down: Credit agencies will now be required to provide what is known as a security freeze to all consumers that request it. These freezes will be free of charge at any point and time. Though this law is similar to a federal law put into effect back in September 2018, Governor Baker believes it will reinforce it in the state of Massachusetts.
An additional aspect of the law will ensure consumers credit safety by requiring written consent at the time of request for the report. Even still, if a credit report is requested by the consumer for a non-credit purpose, written consent is still required to print the report.
Governor Charlie Baker came forward in a statement to say that these improvements will ensure consumers’ data is safe and secure, giving them the control they need and want over their own information and allowing it to be used when and where they choose.
The law put into effect last week was brought up in response to the 2017 data breach at Equifax. Because of this data breach, Governor Baker added another tidbit to the law: clauses preventing consumers from suing credit companies will be prohibited.
It’s been brought to Massachusetts residents’ attention that companies like Equifax have been charging a $5 fee for every credit freeze they request; Governor Baker assures us all that this will not be happening any longer. Now, credit bureaus will be required to provide up to 3 ½ years of free monitoring if a security breach has anything to do with identity theft through social security numbers. Everything else involved in a monitoring report will be provided to consumers for up to 1 ½ years of past credit.
This may only be the first step into protecting our information, but at least we’re headed in the right direction.