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Identity Theft

  • cunningham 031518SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents will no longer have to pay a fee to protect their identity by freezing their credit thanks to legislation passed unanimously by the Illinois Senate today.

    House Bill 4095, an initiative of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, is sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Democrat representing Chicago and the southwest suburbs.

    Once signed by the governor, the measure will bar credit reporting agencies from charging consumers a fee to place or lift a freeze on their credit report.

    “Illinois residents should not have to pay a fee because of the negligence of a credit reporting agency,” Cunningham said. “It is simply unconscionable that a company would charge consumers any fee after they failed to protect their personal information.”

    Under current law, credit agencies may charge up to $10 for each freeze request and each request to lift a freeze. For a freeze to be effective, consumers must contact and pay all four major credit rating agencies, which greatly expands the cost. Currently, only senior citizens, identity theft victims with police reports, and active duty service members are not charged to place a credit freeze. House Bill 4095 would extend that fee exemption to all Illinois residents.

    This comes in response to the massive data breach suffered by Equifax from May to July of last year. As many as 143 million Americans nationwide and 5.4 million Illinois residents may have been impacted by the breach of sensitive consumer information.

    Indiana, Maine, North Carolina and South Carolina do not allow credit agencies to charge fees for freezes and lifts. Additionally, six other states have introduced credit freeze legislation in response to the Equifax breach.

    The bill will take effect immediately once it is signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

  • keyboardSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect governmental information from phishing schemes and coordinated cyber-attacks legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) was signed into law that will require state employees to take cyber-security training on an annual basis.

    “Hacking experts are becoming more creative by identifying new ways to obstruct governmental information systems,” said Hunter. “Training our employees in cybersecurity is critical in reducing the risks of such sophisticated attacks.”

    The initiative was modeled after a Florida law which was enacted to ensure that the state’s data and staff resources are maintained reliably and safely and are recoverable in the event of a disaster.

    “This legislation will not only improve the accessibility of electronic information and information technology but will increase education, employment and access to governmental information and services,” said Hunter.

    The security training attached to House Bill 2371 will include:
    • Detecting phishing scams
    • Preventing spyware infections
    • Preventing identity thefts
    • Preventing and responding to data breaches

    The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

  • lightford 080515SPRINGFIELD – Most of us would agree that if we could do high school all over again, knowing what we now know about how the world works, some of our academic questions and concerns might focus on more practical subjects – maybe simply inquiring about how to get through day-to-day adult life unscathed.

    How do I stay out of debt? What is the best way to pay back mounting student loans? How do I prevent the guy in the apartment next door from stealing my identity?

    A new law, pushed through the General Assembly by Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D – Maywood), will require those questions to be answered in Illinois public high schools.