2006-06-16 / Community

Pheffer: Freeze Credit Reports For ID Theft Victims

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer has announced that the Governor has signed legislation to allow for consumers to place a security freeze on their credit reports.

The bill, A.7349-D/S.6805-B, allows consumers who are either identity theft victims, or are concerned that they might be at risk of having their identities stolen, to cut off an identity thief's access to credit, loans, leases, goods and services by placing a "freeze" on their credit report.

This is done by sending a request to the credit reporting agencies either through certified or overnight mail. The agencies would then be required to place the freeze within five business days.

"With the recent announcement that millions of the nation's veterans are the potential victims of identity theft this legislation is extraordinarily timely in aiding these New York Veterans involved in this matter, as well as consumers across the state. This bill was developed after intensive negotiations with all parties involved, and we believe that the result is a comprehensive piece of legislation that addresses the needs of our consumers and continues to demonstrate that New York remains a leader in the fight against identity theft," said Pheffer.

Identity theft is the number one consumer crime in the nation, and New York has remained in the forefront as a leader in enacting legislation to combat this crime and protect its victims. However, New York still ranks fourth in the country in the number of identity theft complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission per capita, with over 17,000 New Yorkers filing identity theft complaints in 2005.

Consumers will be able to contact the major credit reporting agencies to place a freeze on their credit report when the law becomes effective on November 1, 2006.

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