ALBANY, N.Y., June 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Before leaving Albany, Governor Paterson and Legislature agreed to update New York's Identity Theft laws. The legislation allows New Yorkers to place security freezes on their credit either by phone or signing up over the internet with the appropriate credit agency. Security freezes block most entities from gaining access to an individual's credit information and also prevents unauthorized persons from opening new accounts or borrowing money using another's personal information. Currently, the only way to sign up for this identity theft tool is to send a certified letter to the various credit reporting agencies. "The leadership of the Governor Paterson, Senator Fuschillo and Assemblywoman Pheffer creates easy access to this essential identity theft tool," said Lois Aronstein. "This legislation enhances the existing law providing a convenient way for New Yorkers to keep identity thieves from getting their hands on their personal credit information." According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2007 New York ranked sixth out of fifty states in the number of per capita identity theft complaints. An AARP study from November 2007 found that 81 percent of older consumers are concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft. The following security freeze provisions are in the new Identity Theft package:
-- Allow consumers to request a freeze on their credit reports via telephone or over the internet. Hidden List -- Require credit reporting agencies to place a security freeze on an individual's credit report within 24 hours of receiving notice. Hidden List -- Require credit bureaus to "thaw" a consumer's credit file within 15 minutes of receipt of the request. -- Creates Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Program to be administered by the Consumer Protection Board to assist identity theft victims in undoing the damage that the identity thief has done to their financial and credit history. The legislation also prohibits employers from posting or displaying an employee's Social Security number, or placing Social Security numbers in files with open access. In addition, it proposes to make it illegal to posses a skimmer device, which can obtain personal identifying information such as numbers from credit cards. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 33 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 39 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
SOURCE AARP New York State