If you think a burglar is outside your house, then would it be reasonable to already have a lock on your door? Seems common sense and obvious, but apparently not so clear to Texas legislators. In a legislative move equivalent to “you can’t buy a lock until you can prove your house has been broken in to”, Texas bill writers decided in a moment of rare law-making idiocy to limit Texas consumers’ credit freeze privileges unless and until they can prove that they’re a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud!
How Texas Credit Freeze Laws Crimp Residents Yet Aid Bad Guys. Everyone in the Lone Star State has read a thousand times the politicians’ campaign pledges “we work for you!”. However, in the expanding universe of online fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and other rip-off areas, the matter of which “you” they’re working for is now less clear. Is it the Good Guys, ordinary Texas citizens, or is it the Bad Guys?
Limiting The Good Guys’ Rights. Law abiding Texas citizens, the real Good Guys in the identity theft picture, have gotten the bums rush deal from their pols. Here’s the real deal on how Texas credit freeze works. Lone Star residents have to prove, via formal police investigative reports, that they’ve been already victimized by identity theft or credit card fraud before their credit history reports can be locked-down and controlled against future piracy! In other words, by law Texas citizens cannot proactively defend themselves against future crimes of identity theft or related financial or securities fraud unless they’ve first become a victim!
Enhancing The Bad Guys’ Criminal Opportunities. Seems benign, the matter of timing and control over how your credit history report might be made available. Yet, in the opportunistic mindset of a criminal, getting a 1-time access into your credit history is like being offered 100 yards of open running room with no defenders in sight! In other words you have to be kidding!
By initially stealing some piece of your identity… a current credit card, an auto, birth record, address, bank or checking account number… bad guys can then “apply” for any number of thousands of credit cards being hustled by consumer credit companies like department stores, hardware stores, banks, clothiers, even sports good companies. These criminals, posing as “you”, run each newly issued credit card to the hilt, purchasing thousands of dollars of gear. What they know, and then 30 days later what you find out is that, you receive the bill and you’re responsible for payment on the gear which you never bought!
“What the heck… what’s this stuff? What charge card is this? *@:#” you’ll be spitting and spewing. And guess what? With the help of your Texas legislature, you’re out of luck unless and until you’ve been ripped off!
Influence Peddling or Clear Sighted Legislation? Only Texas residents can truly judge the bottom line of whether a hamstrung credit freeze law actually helps anybody, especially when crime data already shows that 80% to 90% of identity theft, online theft, credit card fraud and so on goes undetected until the damage occurs. Common sense indicates that “the horse has already left the paddock” and the game is over.
Which commercial interests are most likely to support the Texas credit freeze law, in its clearly limited and punitive conditional support of Texas citizens? Amazingly, if you’re a grade school child perhaps, the primary opponents of unrestricted credit freeze rights are the major credit bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. But why? The answer is simple… it’s all about money.
Texas Resident Credit Records Are Money-Makers For The Credit Bureaus. Each of over 150 million individual credit history files is a form of intellectual property. Yes, it’s all about you, your credit history, how and when you make your payments. Yet, individuals don’t actually own or control their own data. Instead, these records are regularly “sold” to enquiring firms such as banks, credit card companies, department stores, gasoline sellers and so on. If an individual controls their own credit history record, then the bureau can no longer make money from the data unless the consumer gives a formal notice to release the information.
Meanwhile, banks and credit card hawkers want to sell more cards, more gear. And so do the Bad Guys, who by thieving chance and necessity like to exploit any opportunity to live high-on-the-hog at someone else’s expense.