Credo Action

Stand with Sen. Warren: Demand freedom from Equifax exploitation

Sign the petition

Petition to Congress:

"Support the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act, sponsored by Sens. Warren and Schatz, to protect people and give them more power over their information in the wake of the Equifax breach."

    You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Demand freedom from Equifax exploitation

    Credit reporting agencies govern our reputations and profit off of our identities without anyone electing them or giving them consent to do so.1

    And now, a massive breach at one of those credit bureaus, Equifax, has put the private information of 143 million people at risk.2

    Progressive champions Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Brian Schatz are fighting back with the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) Act, and we need to get behind it in a big way.3

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Demand freedom from Equifax exploitation.

    Equifax waited more than a month to tell the public after discovering the data breach, during which time a number of executives apparently sold their company stock.4 When Equifax finally did come clean, they did so with a website that appeared to trick people into signing away legal rights and to charge them to freeze their credit report. As Sen. Warren noted:

    “Equifax’s initial efforts to provide customers information did nothing to clarify the situation and actually appeared to be efforts to hoodwink them into waiving important legal rights.”5

    The FREE Act would protect people from the worst of this behavior, by:6

    • Requiring credit monitoring agencies to provide credit freezes and do so for free, replacing patchwork state laws and banning credit bureaus from charging people to freeze information that was gathered without their consent.

    • Toughening credit freeze rules by mandating that fraud alerts last longer and have more teeth and blocking companies from selling your information to marketers even while you have a freeze on your account.

    • Demanding refunds on credit freezes and an additional free credit check for people who paid for a credit freeze after the Equifax breach became public or who want to check their credit but have already used their yearly free credit check.

    Credit companies make billions of dollars by collecting and selling our private information – Social Security numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers, driver’s license information, and more – with minimal oversight and zero consent. Then, they charge people to freeze or access their credit reports.7 Sens. Warren and Schatz’s bill is a tough first step toward putting control back in our hands.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Demand freedom from Equifax exploitation.

    It was not that long ago that credit bureaus would investigate your political leanings, sexuality, medical conditions, drinking habits, and more to determine your “creditworthiness.” Being a person of color, a single woman or gay could hurt your credit score. During World War II, credit companies ran loyalty checks on behalf of the military. With technological advancements, computerized systems now vacuum up as much data on you as possible. From the beginning, credit bureaus have been an under-regulated, invasive corporate force helping to keep access to credit, and thus financial well-being, in the hands of the few.8

    In 1970, Congress passed basic rules to ban discrimination and insist on the right of everyday Americans to have input on how credit relationships – essential to modern-day commerce – shape our society.9 The Equifax breach puts that tension back in the political conversation, and the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation is a first step to reclaiming our control over our personal data.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Demand freedom from Equifax exploitation.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act Factsheet,” Sept. 15, 2017.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Alina Selyukh, "3 Equifax Executives Sold Stock Days After Hack That Wasn't Disclosed For A Month," NPR, Sept. 8, 2017.
    5. Hannah Levintova, “Elizabeth Warren Goes After Equifax Over Hack,” Mother Jones, Sept. 15, 2017.
    6. Sen. Warren, “Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act Factsheet.”
    7. Ibid.
    8. Matt Stoller, “Equifax Isn’t A Data Problem. It’s A Political Problem.” HuffPost, Sept. 13, 2017.
    9. Ibid.