Friday, June 23, 2006

Protecting Veterans Against Identity Theft

The House approved legislation on Thursday (HB 2883) that would protect veterans, active duty military and members of the National Guard against identity theft. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Bruce Goforth, D-Buncombe, in response to the news of a recent theft of a federal government database in Washington, D.C. that included the names, Social Security numbers and birthdates of 26.5 million veterans across the nation.

Under existing North Carolina law, any victim of identity theft can get a free credit freeze, which prohibits access to that person’s account history. Some states allow consumers to pay for a credit freeze before encountering fraud, but haven’t committed to offering any similar services for free. North Carolina veterans would have until the end of the year to initiate the service and could keep it at no charge for up to a year. The bill was unanimously approved on Thursday.

North Carolina is home to more than 770,000 veterans and 90,000 active duty members of the military. Surviving spouses of military personnel can also get a credit freeze under the proposal, and family members can act on behalf of active-duty personnel overseas.

Veterans who suspect identity theft should call (800) FED-INFO or (800) 333-4636 or go to:

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