WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Nearly 1.7 million North Carolina consumers have had their personal information compromised due to 329 reported security breaches since 2005. Now, there is a state law that helps protect you from identity theft.
Click here to see the law
North Carolina residents can freeze their credit reports online for free. The freeze prevents thieves from stealing your information.
Click here to request a freeze
Attorney General Roy Cooper said the law is a proactive approach to keeping your identity safe.
"It provides a shield for you," said Cooper. "It makes it very difficult for someone to steal your identity and open an account or take out a credit card in your name because they wont be able to get past the credit check because you have a freeze on it. It used to be that if you were a victim of identity theft they would let you do the security freeze but that's after its already happened. I'm encouraging ALL consumers to do it."
The law also requires paid credit monitoring services to tell consumers how they can check their credit report for free. This beefs up security breach reporting requirements, allows removal of personal financial information from local government websites, and protects crime victims from debts caused by criminals.
Free credit reports are available online at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
Free reports are available once every year at one of the three major credit bureaus.
When you visit a credit bureau website have your identifying information such as social security number, address and date of birth ready.
Consumers who don't have access to the internet can request and lift security freezes by mail or telephone for $3 per bureau. Freezes by mail or telephone are free to victims of identity theft and consumers over aged 62.