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Bruce Speight,
WISPIRG

Governor Doyle To Sign Legislation To Protect Consumers From Fraud And Identity Theft

WISPIRG thanked Governor Doyle for signing AB 912 into law at a ceremony in New Berlin today. Assembly Bill 912, authored by Representative Jeff Fitzgerald (Beaver Dam), would give consumers a tool to protect themselves against fraud and identity theft. Assembly Bill 912 was adopted by the Assembly ninety-seven to zero on January 26 and passed the Senate on March 9.

“WISPIRG thanks Representative Jeff Fitzgerald for authoring this legislation to give consumers the tools they need to protect themselves against fraud and identity theft,” said Jennifer Giegerich, WISPIRG state director. “We applaud Governor Doyle for signing AB 912 into law so that Wisconsin can join the handful of states that have adopted security freeze legislation.”

AB 912 allows consumers to protect themselves against fraud and identity theft by placing a Security Freeze. A Security Freeze is the right to control access to one’s own credit report by protecting it with a passcode, akin to your ATM PIN. A potential creditor will not issue credit without reviewing a consumer’s credit report, and if only the consumer can grant access to their credit report, thieves won't be able to get new credit in the consumer’s name. Consumers can lift the freeze when they want to access new credit. With the right to a Security Freeze, Wisconsinites can end new account fraud and identity theft.

New account fraud cost businesses $10,200 per victim, totaling of $32.9 billion a year. On top of the cost to business, new account fraud costs each victim an average of $1,180 of their own money, totaling $3.8 billion a year.

Identity theft is a terrible and growing problem, largely because personal information is a hot commodity. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2,646 Wisconsin residents were victims of identity theft in 2004. Victims of identity theft spend an average of $808 of their own money and 175 hours actively working to clean up their credit reports and other complications.

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