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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear and Sen. Morgan McGarvey, of Louisville, announced legislation Thursday designed to strengthen protections for Kentuckians affected by a data breach.

Beshear says his office has been working with Sen. McGarvey to draft legislation to protect Kentucky families in light of the massive Equifax data breach, which has affected nearly 145.5 million Americans and approximately 40 percent of Kentucky families.

The legislation Sen. McGarvey will pre-file amends current state law to require companies responsible for a data breach to provide impacted Kentuckians 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. The legislation would require all credit reports be encrypted, making it more difficult for hackers to steal personal and financial information.

“Kentucky’s laws must be changed so that the companies responsible for a breach are required to provide real protections for Kentucky families,” Beshear said. “This bill will make sure impacted Kentuckians never have to pay to freeze or monitor their credit. I want to thank Sen. McGarvey for joining us to better protect all Kentuckians.”

“It’s absolutely critical to protect the citizens of Kentucky from these types of security breaches,” said Sen. McGarvey. “Strong consumer protections such as the ones in this legislation play an important role in safeguarding the secured data of Kentuckians.”

Beshear and Sen. McGarvey made Thursday’s announcement at AARP Kentucky’s Louisville headquarters. AARP Kentucky and the Office of the Attorney General have been constant partners in their efforts to better protect senior citizens from scams, fraud and financial abuse.

“Data breaches are too common and too many hackers, scammers and con artists are targeting Americans of all ages,” said Rita Morrow, AARP Kentucky community volunteer. “Consumers in Kentucky deserve a simple, one-stop-shop for freezing or unfreezing their credit reports. This bill puts consumers first and in charge of their own personal information.”

Since the Equifax breach was announced, customer frustrations have continued to grow, and Beshear has responded by taking numerous actions to help protect Kentucky families impacted.

Beshear first 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 respond to identity theft.

In September, Beshear joined with other attorneys general to send Equifax a letter demanding the company 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.

Just this week, Beshear also joined 37 attorneys general to ask credit reporting bureaus Experian and TransUnion, which were not responsible for the breach, to stop charging fees to consumers who want to place credit freezes on their accounts in light of the Equifax data breach.

Beshear said his office will continue to monitor the situation 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.

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