2007-07-06 / Community

'Security Freeze'Law Stops Thieves Cold

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) is working to ensure that New Yorkers are aware of a new state law, enacted less than a year ago, that allows New Yorkers to freeze access to their credit reports to stop thieves from getting credit in their name.

"Identity theft is a serious crime that is both widespread and costly," said Lois Aronstein, state director, AARP New York. "This law gives New Yorkers a new and effective tool to help keep identity thieves from getting their hands on your personal credit information. AARP believes that consumers should have the option to protect themselves by placing a freeze on their credit files. AARP advocates for such a law and now that choice is available to all New Yorkers."

The "Security Freeze" law allows consumers to place a "freeze" on their consumer credit reports, which lets consumers stop ID thieves from getting credit in the consumer's names by blocking access to their credit files.

Almost nine million Americans were victims of ID theft in 2005, resulting in $56.9 billion in losses for consumers and businesses. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good names and credit records.

In order to place this block, consumers must contact each individual credit reporting agency listed below via certified mail or overnight mail with the following information: name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and proof of current address (such as a current utility bill).

Requests should be sent to the following credit reporting agencies:

-Equifax: Equifax Security Freeze, PO Box 105788, Atlanta, Georgia 30348

-Experian: Experian Security Freeze, PO Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013

-TransUnion: TransUnion Security Freeze, PO Box 6790, Fullerton, California 92834

For more information on placing a Security Freeze, visit the AARP New York State website at www.aarp.org/ny. To order a free Security Freeze brochure, call 1-866-227-7442 or email AARP with the request at nyaarp@ aarp.org.

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