ID theft bill moves to North Carolina governor

| 8/31/2005

North Carolina lawmakers have advanced a bill that would require companies to take preventative measures to combat identity theft when handling customers’ personal information.

Senators voted Aug. 23 to agree to changes made to the bill by the House. It now heads to Gov. Mike Easley for his signature.

The bill would restrict the sale and display of Social Security numbers, and mandate companies to properly destroy information when they throw it away, The Dispatch in Lexington, NC, reported.

Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Clodfelter, D-Charlotte, the measure also would give consumers the right to place a security “freeze” on their credit reports to help prevent the unwanted opening of an account or the obtaining of credit in a person’s name.

The final version of the bill – SB1048 – includes an exemption for Internet account numbers, e-mail addresses and names, and driver’s license numbers on law enforcement records from being considered personal information.

To help prevent identity theft, authorities warn consumers should look out for their own interests by reading their credit card statements, reviewing their credit report once a year, and destroying unwanted credit card offers.

If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you are encouraged to file a police report and a complaint with the state attorney general’s office.