Pricey Harrison

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Protecting Against Identity Theft -05-31-05

A rewrite of the state's laws related to the collection and use of Social Security numbers and other private information has unanimously passed the House. The Identity Theft Protection Act of 2005, House Bill 1248, is sponsored by Representatives Bruce Goforth (D-Buncombe), Ronnie Sutton (D-Robeson), Minority Leader Joe Kiser (R-Lincoln), and Karen Ray (R-Iredell) and co-sponsored by more than 30 members, including me, from across the state.

The bill would restrict the sale and display of Social Security numbers by certain businesses. And personal information collected properly would have to be destroyed properly. The legislation also would give consumers the right to place a security "freeze" on their credit reports. Business customers who may be at risk of identity theft due to a security breach would have to be alerted by the company. The Senate has passed a slightly different version of the bill, but lawmakers in both chambers hope to give final approval to one of the identity theft bills in the near future.

What to do if you're a victim of identity theft:
* Contact the fraud department of one of the credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to place your fraud alert on file.
* Call your creditor to close the accounts you believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
* Notify police. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.
* File a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations.

Source: The Federal Trade Commission

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