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Following Equifax breach, Rep. Waters calls for credit reporting overhaul

  • Rep. Maxine Waters is calling on credit reporting reform
  • The response comes a day after Equifax revealed a breach that may affect 143 million Americans
  • The congresswoman says she's also going to introduce new legislation to better protect consumers

Rep. Maxine Waters, ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, called on Friday for a complete overhaul of the nation's credit reporting system.

The California Democrat's statement came a day after Equifax disclosed a major breach of its systems, in which private data on as many as 143 million Americans, including Social Security numbers, addresses and more, were exposed.

"This hack into sensitive information compiled and maintained by Equifax is one of the largest data breaches in our nation's history and someone has to be held accountable," Waters said.

"Given the important role credit scores play in the lives and financial futures of hardworking Americans, Congress must diligently examine the way our credit reporting agencies are operating and impose additional statutory and regulatory reforms to protect the integrity of the country's credit reporting system," she said in a statement.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Getty Images
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Waters said that she will continue to advocate for "an overhaul of our nation's credit reporting system" and that she will soon introduce new legislation to better protect consumers and their identities.

Waters also called on Equifax to offer free credit freezes. The company is currently offering affected customers complimentary identity theft protection and credit monitoring.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., criticized Equifax's response to the breach, saying it seemed the company was "not on guard," "very slow" and "very, very sloppy."

Warner, who created the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus last year and is a former Nextel executive, also said he felt some of the fine print around Equifax's credit monitoring offer was worrisome. He called for more regulatory scrutiny of cybersecurity breach reporting.

"Oftentimes you might have an entity, versus the telcos, versus the financial institutions, all, in effect, pointing at each other — about who's responsible for reporting, who's responsible for notifying consumers," Warner told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Friday. "And you've got really a total quilt work, with 49 different state laws all conflicting with each other. A national standard would bring about at least some better transparency."

Equifax did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Join CNBC, the Aspen Institute and the most influential cybersecurity players from government, business and tech at the Cambridge Cyber Summit, Oct. 4 in Boston.

WATCH: Investigation launched into Equifax breach