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Tough new law will make it harder for theives to steal your identify, says AG Co

Release date: 8/22/2005

Raleigh: North Carolinians will have more protection from identity theft thanks to a measure proposed by Attorney General Roy Cooper and approved by the House.

“We’re putting new safeguards in place to help everyday people protect their sensitive personal information,” said Cooper, “and we’re making it harder for criminals to get their hands on your information in the first place.”

The House today unanimously approved the Identity Theft Protection Act of 2005 (Senate Bill 1048). The measure was introduced by Senator Dan Clodfelter and Representatives Bruce Goforth, Ronnie Sutton, Joe Kiser and Karen Ray at Cooper’s request. The bill earned unanimous approval by the Senate in May and now returns to the Senate for concurrence.

To cut down on identity theft in North Carolina, the new law proposed by Cooper will:

• Minimize the use of Social Security Numbers as identification numbers and restrict the sale and display of SSNs.
 
• Give consumers the right to place a security “freeze” on their credit reports to block an identity thief from opening an account or obtaining credit in your name.
 
• Make sure that businesses that are disposing 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.
 
• Require businesses to notify their customers if a security breach may have compromised their personal information and placed them at risk of identity theft.
 
• Prohibit state and local government agencies from unnecessarily collecting people’s Social Security Numbers, or from disclosing SSNs to the general public if it is necessary for the government to collect them.
 

Identity theft occurs when a consumer’s personal information is stolen and used to commit financial fraud. Approximately 300,000 North Carolinians will have their identity stolen this year. Not only is identity theft a menace to consumers, but it also costs businesses $50 billion dollars annually.

This comprehensive bill marks only the latest attack against identity theft for Cooper. Cooper first launched a campaign against this fast-growing crime two years ago, and has worked with law enforcement, businesses, and the public to help raise awareness of and prevent identity theft. Cooper’s efforts have been praised by the Federal Trade Commission as a national model. To learn more about identity theft and steps consumers can take to protect themselves, visit www.ncdoj.gov .