Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tough New Identity Theft Protection Law Starts Today

An important new weapon from those fighting to stem
the tide of identity theft has just taken effect today in the
state of North Carolina.

Starting December 1, 2005, North Carolina residents
will have the benefit of one of the most comprehensive
laws in the country as disclosed by the law's sponsor -
Attorney General Roy Cooper.

It's estimated the new law will address the more than
300,000 North Carolina consumers who become
identity theft victims annually.

“"By freezing your credit, you can block an identity
thief from opening an account or getting credit in your
name,” "Cooper said.

Consumers can freeze their credit report by sending a
certified letter and $10 to each of the three credit bureaus.
The attorney general's office has made available detailed
instructions on how to request a security freeze.

Also available is a sample request letter that North
Carolina consumers can submit to the three major
credit bureaus.

But, the tough new North Carolina identity theft
law goes even further to protect consumers:

  • Minimizing the use of Social Security numbers as
    identification numbers and restricting the sale and
    display of SSNs.
  • Making sure that businesses that dispose of personal
    identifying information about their customers destroy
    or shred those records, so that identity thieves can'’t
    retrieve information from discarded files that have been
    carelessly thrown away.
  • Requiring businesses to notify their customers if a
    security breach may have compromised their personal
    information and placed them at risk of identity theft.
  • Prohibiting state and local government agencies from
    unnecessarily collecting people’s Social Security
    numbers or from disclosing Social Security numbers to
    the general public if it is necessary to collect from
    them.

Next to the 2003 California law, emulated by several
other states, this new important piece of North
Carolina legislation seems to be well designed to
substantially reduce and cut off identity theft at the
source points.

Freezing your credit file will only be a minor
inconvenience for the times when you're impulse
shopping for an automobile or would want "instant
credit" typically used in a retail store.

You, however, always reserve the right to "un-freeze"
access to your credit report. The benefits seeingly
far outweigh any major disadvantages to the consumer.

So, our tip for today is to immediately take advantage
of this new level of protection if you or anyone you
know of is a resident within the state of North
Carolina.

For those, not currently residing in North Carolina,
you can still reduce your potential for identity theft
and credit fraud by contacting all of your financial
institutions and requesting an "opt out". The opt out
request, in this case, would be to not share your
non-public or credit report information with other
business partners and affiliates.

Finally, check back for an important new development
we will release FREE to all of our regular subscribers this
weekend.

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