Friday, September 29, 2006

Demand Credit-Freeze Rights!

Are you aware that 22 states in this "United" States of America have laws that offer a much greater level of protection from credit identity-theft scams for their citizens than the other 28 states do? Yes, if you happen to be lucky enough to live in California or one of the other 21 states with consumer-friendly legislation that allows you to "freeze" your credit files at the major credit-authorization/scoring firms (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax), you have an extra layer of protection against the rampant identity-theft scams than persons in other States.

But, perhaps not for long! Congressman Steve LaTourette (R-OH), is trying his darndest at a Federal level not to offer this extra protection to all of us, but instead to remove that extra layer of protection certain States offer. He has introduced legislation that, if enacted, would reverse the efforts of over 22 State Attorney Generals who have sided with consumers in the battle against the massive problem of identity theft.

In congressman LaTourette’s bill, consumers would only be allowed to freeze access to their credit information if they had filed a police report indicating they had already become an identity theft victim. That's right, he wants to make a Federal law that says only after being victimized could you freeze access to your credit, and not before. Why lock your door -- let someone steal everything and then lock it It sounds insane because it is insane!
And what the heck are the banks getting out of your deal anyhow? Is obviously-fake / stolen-credit business still "OK" to banks, just so they can show extra "business" on their bottom lines or what? I can't understand this one bit -- it SEEMS so insane that banks would want this law either (perhaps someone can explain this to me).

Anyone with even half a brain can see the obvious ignorance and insanity of such lock-the-door-after-theft-occurs logic. Oh, but wait, we forgot the powerful lobby group of the American Banker’s Association - the most vocal supporter of LaTourette’s bill! Ignore what every average citizen wants... just do what the lobby (read: money) wants. This kind of thing is a sick abuse of power, and nothing short of the typical audacity of our elected leaders that supposedly work for "us, the people", but seem to constantly ignore the overwhelming voice of the populace in favor of the voice of power and money exhibited by lobbyists in our nation's capital. This blatant disregard of our rights to information security and protection must be dealt with. Voice your opinion, and if/when the opportunity arises, vote this turncoat out of office! (hopefully the next elected "representative of the people" will actually listen to the people!).

You know what Mr. LaTourette: if your bill becomes law, and I am not able to freeze my credit information when I otherwise would, and someone takes advantage of your open-credit-door policy for crooks, I and everyone else affected by your obvious disregard of our privacy wishes may just ban together and sue you for neglecting your fiduciary responsibility to uphold the will of the people. Something needs to change: start listening to the people at large, and not just the lobbyists. Only an idiot could argue that your approach to "privacy" is at all effective in identity and credit-theft protections.

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