Chair’s note – The Buncombe County Republican Party stands as a bridge between the 10th & 11th Congressional Districts. We are fortunate to have two strong and engaged representatives and wanted to let you know what one of these gentleman is doing on our behalf-
The scope and depth of our digital financial vulnerability was dramatically revealed by recent Equifax security failure announcements.The Equifax breach impacted 14 million Americans and exposed major flaws in our nation’s cyber-security laws. Two weeks ago our 10th District Congressman Patrick McHenry introduced the PROTECT Act. It’s an important first step in addressing shortcomings and providing meaningful reforms focused on helping Americans who have been impacted by this breach.
This week, Senator David Perdue of Georgia introduced a Senate companion bill to the PROTECT Act that, like Congressman McHenry’s bill, provides protection by creating a national credit freeze that prohibits the largest credit reporting agencies from continuing to rely on American’s most sensitive personal information: our Social Security Numbers. To read Congressman McHenry’s full statement on the PROTECT Act please click here. For further information, here’s another link to CNBC’s Power Lunch where he had additional opportunity to discuss the Protect Act.
Here’s Congressman McHenry’s personal statement – “The Equifax data breach has harmed my constituents in western North Carolina and Americans across the country,” said McHenry. “It exposed a major shortcoming in our nation’s cybersecurity laws and Congress must act. The bill I’ve introduced today takes an important first step in providing meaningful reforms to help Americans who have been impacted by this breach. It is focused on prevention, protection, and prohibition.”
“It prevents future harm to all Americans by requiring the largest credit reporting agencies to be subjected to the same standards and supervision as the rest of the financial industry,” McHenry continued. “It protects Americans by creating a national credit freeze that actually works. Finally, it prohibits the largest credit reporting agencies from continuing to rely upon the most sensitive of Americans’ personal information: our Social Security Numbers.”
Background: H.R. 4028, the Promoting Responsible Oversight of Transactions and Examinations of Credit Technology Act of 2017, or the PROTECT Act, amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow national security freezes for the files and credit records of protected consumers, and it creates a nationwide framework for credit freezes. Additionally, the bill establishes supervision and examination of large consumer reporting agencies under the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act. Finally, the bill prohibits the largest credit reporting agencies under 603(p) from using Social Security Numbers as a method of identification by 2020.
As the impacts of this extraordinary data theft enterprise unfold, we’re all advised to pay attention to our financial accounts. Credit monitoring agencies are exploiting our fears with predictions of catastrophic impacts. Resist the hype. Here are a few facts and potential action steps-
- Credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. customers were compromised, in addition to “personal identifying information” on about 182,000 U.S. customers.
- Equifax said it will send notices in the mail to people whose credit card numbers or dispute records were breached. The company said it found no evidence that consumers in other countries were affected beyond the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
- The hackers accessed personal information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers and the numbers of some driver’s licenses.
- Equifax said the breach happened between mid-May and July. It discovered the hack on July 29. It informed the public on September 7.
- Equifax said criminals “exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files.” A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
- Equifax is proposing that customers sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. It is giving free service for one year through its TrustedID Premier business, regardless of whether you’ve been impacted by the hack.
- To enroll and/or check whether you were affected, visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Check Potential Impact tab. You’ll need to provide your last name and the last six digits of your social security number. Once submitted, you will receive a message indicating whether you’ve been affected.