December 9, 2007

Had Your Identity Stolen.....YET?


Jane Kim wrote an excellent article a couple of months ago for the Wall Street Journal, noting that “increasing numbers of people are taking a radical approach to thwart criminals: they are putting their credit reports on permanent freeze.” Take a look at her piece right here.

Freezing access to credit reports from the major credit bureaus is a meaningful way that consumers can help protect themselves from identity theft -- especially for those who are retired and no longer seeking more and more credit.

According to
Consumer Reports, which is a prime player in helping consumers, victims of identity theft can have their reports frozen at no cost, if they have a police report to prove it. However, the rest of us in South Dakota have to pay $10 to put such a freeze in place, to temporarily lift such a freeze, or remove it altogether. For elderly consumers on fixed incomes – trying to protect themselves from the growing threat of identity theft – these mounting fees can be extremely burdensome.

Our friends in North Dakota passed a law limiting such charges to $5 per request.

But Nebraska has done even better. The Nebraska Credit Report Protection Act requires there be only a one-time $15 fee to freeze the report. There are no additional fees for lifting the freeze temporarily or removing it altogether.

Lots of stuff going on in Pierre next month; let’s hope this issue can find a place on the legislative agenda.

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