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Lawmakers request GAO report on credit monitoring services

Offering free credit monitoring services to consumers has been a standard practice in the wake of data breaches. But do they do any good?

House energy and commerce leaders from both sides of the aisle requested the Government Accountability Office undertake a review of credit monitoring services and other post-identity theft services and provide recommendations to protect consumers.

“Questions have been raised…about the usefulness and adequacy of credit monitoring services in protecting victims’ credit following a breach. For example, according to experts, some credit monitoring services only monitor one of three major credit bureaus, while criminals know to apply for credit at all three bureaus. Experts have also questions whether one to two years of credit monitoring offers sufficient protection since cyber criminals can use stolen personal information many years after monitoring services have expired,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter, sent Monday was signed by committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.); commerce manufacturing and trade subcommittee chairman Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-Tex.) and ranking member Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill); and oversight and investigations subcommittee chairman Tim Murphy (R-Penn.) and ranking member Diana DeGette (D-CO).

Earlier in the month, the leaders requested information and briefings about consumer post-data breach protections from the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.