Identity Theft

by La. Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Jr.

In light of the recent onslaught of bogus email scams and cleverly disguised bank notices, I want to let you know there is a way to help in the fight against identity theft. In fact, Louisiana consumers have a new tool in the fight against identity theft.

Beginning July 1, 2005, Louisiana consumers can place a “security freeze” on their credit report. This new law will give consumers more control over who has access to their credit report, thus helping to reduce the risk of identity theft. When a consumer places a security freeze on their credit report, this prohibits a credit reporting agency from releasing the consumer’s credit report or credit score without the express authorization of the consumer. A security freeze will remain on your credit report until you request it to be removed.

To place a security freeze on your credit report, you must contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies in writing. There is a $10.00 initial fee to place the freeze on your credit report with each credit reporting agency.  However, this fee is waived if you are a victim of identity theft and have included a copy of the police report with your letter; or if you are 62 years of age or older. Each credit reporting agency has specific information that you must include in your letter. *

Once the credit reporting agencies receive your request for a security freeze, they must place the security freeze on your credit report no later than ten business days after receiving your written request. The credit reporting agency must also provide to you, within ten business days, a unique personal identification number (PIN) or password that you must use when providing authorization for the access of your credit report for a specific period of time. Also at this time, the credit reporting agency must let you know in writing the process of placing, removing, and temporarily lifting a security freeze and the process for allowing access to information from the consumer’s credit report for a specific period while the security freeze is in effect.

Once you place a security freeze on your credit report, you can request that it be lifted. There is a charge of $8.00 per lift to temporarily lift the freeze. The credit reporting agency has three business days to honor your request.

As your Attorney General, I believe it is my duty to act as the legal protector for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the state of Louisiana. I believe that this new law helps me protect you from identity thieves. I encourage all of you to consider using this valuable service. If you have any questions about this new law, please contact my office at 1-800-351-4889 or visit our website at www.ag.state.la.us.

 

 
 

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