BOSTON – Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Senate voted to pass a bill designed to protect the personal information of consumers in the case of data breaches, like the one seen at Equifax, and to provide free credit freezes for all consumers.

The bill helps all consumers protect their sensitive information before, during, and after a security breach in several ways: providing for free credit freezes for all consumers and creating an online “one stop shop” portal so that consumers can freeze & unfreeze their credit at all 3 main bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) in one place; providing 5 years of free credit monitoring for consumers whose information was part of a credit reporting agency data breach, and empowering consumers to know when and why their consumer reports are being pulled by requiring that any company attempting to pull a consumer’s report must first obtain consent.

“When it comes to your hard-earned money and personal information, one security breach is too many,” said Senator Moore. “Consumers should have access to streamlined, low-cost credit options without sacrificing safety. This legislation standardizes processes across main credit bureaus and allows consumers to take the wheel when it comes to protecting their personal data.”

The legislation allows increased oversight from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which recently filed a lawsuit against Equifax. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation will create a process requiring companies to certify that they maintain a consumer information security program as required by existing Massachusetts law.

“Equifax allowed the theft of our personal financial information, and then hid the breach from the public,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “This bill would require companies like Equifax to pay for credit monitoring and makes it much easier for people to protect themselves from identify theft.”

Differences between the bill passed by the Senate, H.4241, an a similar version of legislation passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year must first be resolved before the bill is submitted to the Governor for their signature.