Beshear proposes changes after breach

FRANKFORT — Following the massive Equifax data breach, Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office is drafting legislation to strengthen protections for Kentuckians affected by a data breach.

Beshear said the issues surrounding the Equifax breach, which has affected nearly 143 million Americans, including nearly 40 percent of Kentucky families, show that Kentucky’s data breach laws must be bolstered to better safeguard Kentucky families.

Under Beshear’s proposed legislation, Kentuckians impacted by a data breach would gain access to a free credit freeze, three free credit reports each year from each of the major credit reporting agencies and five years of credit monitoring. Beshear said his proposal also requires all credit reports be encrypted, which would make it more difficult for hackers to steal personal and financial information.

“My job is to be Kentuckians’ lawyer and that is why I am working to propose stronger state laws that would directly help those impacted by a breach,” Beshear said. “Under my proposal, the victims of a data breach would never have to pay to freeze or monitor their credit — and those responsible would be required to step up and provide better protections for Kentucky families.”

Beshear said earlier today Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced similar legislation in her state, and other states including Maine have already moved to strengthen consumer protections surrounding data breaches.

Last week, Beshear joined with other attorneys general to send Equifax a letter, which demanded Equifax stop using its own data breach as an opportunity to sell services to victims. The letter specifically requested the company disable fee-based credit monitoring services and reimburse customers for any fees they have paid to other credit reporting agencies for a credit freeze.

Beshear also recently issued a Scam Alert to help make Kentuckians aware of the Equifax data breach, and provided instructions on how to sign up for the free credit monitoring service and guidance on how to avoid and respond to identity theft.

Beshear wants Kentuckians to know that his office will continue to monitor the company’s response and asks Kentuckians to take immediate steps to closely monitor their credit and report any suspicious credit activity to his office’s Security Breach hotline, 855-813-6508.