On Your Side: Protecting Your Identity

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News 12 at 6, June 2, 2008

South Carolina is taking big steps in an attempt to make identity theft a thing of the past. The latest is a new identity theft bill that is designed to make protecting your identity a lot easier.

Governor Sanford recently signed the Financial Identity Fraud and Identity Theft Protection Act into law. It's a lot of words for a simple premise: a law to help you protect your identity.

The biggest part of the act is that it gives people the option to put a freeze on their credit at no charge. The state is one of only two in the nation to do this..

The freeze essentially locks your credit report to prevent anyone from accessing it. It's easy to thaw it when you need to--it only takes a phone call and 15 minutes.

The bill also requires businesses to contact you if you personal information may have been accessed or compromised. That way you can take steps to freeze your credit and protect yourself.

Also under the new law, Dumpster diving--the act of going through trash to find personal information--is now officially a crime.

Lastly, the law also makes identity theft a crime. Hard to believe, but up until now, it wasn't specifically illegal.

For more information, please visit the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs website:

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