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Starting today New York has a new tool against identity theft

Starting today, residents of New York will be able to enact security freezes on their credit reports with the three main consumer reporting agencies. Freeze requests must be made in writing and include the requester's name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, and proof of current address.

The credit agencies issuing freezes are allowed to charge a fee of no more than five dollars. First time requesters and anyone who can prove that they have been a victim of identity theft are exempted from the fee.

A freeze can only be lifted by the person who placed it with their PIN or password assigned by the credit reporting agency. A fee of five dollars may also be charged to remove the fee.

People still confused about the risk of identity theft

In a recent survey commissioned by Capital One, 93% of those surveyed were aware of identity theft but unaware of the damage it can cause.

Some surprising findings were:

  • 44% of consumers did not know that their personal information can be used to get mortgage
  • 32% of Americans are still carrying their Social Security Cards in their wallets or purses
  • 45% of those polled incorrectly think that a new Social Security Number can be obtained if you are a victim.

Online Identity Theft is hyped

While keylogging software, phishing e-mails that impersonate official bank messages and hackers who break into customer databases may dominate headlines, more than 90% of identity fraud starts with stolen bank statements, misplaced passwords or other off line methods.

While thieves usually turn to the Internet to access existing bank, phone or brokerage accounts or to create new ones with the stolen information, in only one out of 10 of those incidents was the theft of the personal data done over the Internet.

Sponsored By:

The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security by Kevin D. Mitnick.
A great read for anyone interested in security.

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