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Veterans move closer to protection from ID theft, says AG Cooper

Release date: 6/22/2006

Raleigh: North Carolina military personnel and veterans would be able to freeze their credit for free to protect themselves from identity theft under a bill proposed by Attorney General Roy Cooper and approved today by the NC House.

“These brave men and women have made great sacrifices and faced many threats on behalf of our country,” said Cooper. “They deserve this added protection from identity theft, which now threatens to tarnish their credit and their good names.”

Names, birth dates and Social Security numbers belonging to millions of veterans, members of the military and their families were recently stolen from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), putting these men and women at increased risk of identity theft.

Cooper asked legislative leaders to change state law so that these veterans and military personnel can place a security freeze on their credit reports without having to pay the usual fee of $10 per credit agency. Placing a security freeze prohibits credit reporting agencies from releasing any information about you to new creditors without your approval, making it difficult for an identity thief to use your information to open an account or obtain credit.

Under House Bill 2883, sponsored by Representative Bruce Goforth and approved today by the House, veterans, military personnel and their families living in North Carolina who have been a victim of the recent data theft would be able to get a security freeze for free. Free security freezes would become available as soon as the law passes and remain available for free until January 1, 2007. Cooper would like to see free credit freezes made available to veterans, military personnel and their families for even longer.

“This is a great step forward to help our veterans and military families, but I’d like see them have even more time to take advantage of this important tool,” said Cooper.

Last year, Cooper helped push through the Identity Theft Protection Act to better protect North Carolinians from identity theft. A security freeze is currently free for identity theft victims. Other consumers can place a freeze on their credit for a fee of $10 paid to each of the three credit reporting agencies.

Cooper’s office has also issued tips to help veterans take steps to protect themselves from identity theft. The tip sheet, “Identity Theft: Tips for Veterans Who May Be at Risk,” tells veterans how to place a fraud alert on their credit, how to get copies of credit reports, and how to request a security freeze. The tip sheet is available at www.ncdoj.com under “What’s New.” Additional information about identity theft is available at www.ncdoj.com/idtheft.

 

In addition, the VA has also established a toll-free number, 1-800-FED INFO, and a website, www.firstgov.gov, for veterans who are seeking information about the data theft.

 

 
 

  Contact:  Noelle Talley, (919) 716-6413