Identity Theft 'Credit Freeze' MovesForward In Congress

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WASHINGTON - (07/29/05) -- The Senate Commerce Committeeapproved a bill Thursday that would require users of confidentialinformation to notify consumers when the consumers' personal datamay have been stolen, and allowing consumers to immediately freezetheir credit when a breach in security has occurred. "What we'retrying to do is safeguard people's personal information," said Sen.Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who helped draft the bill aimedat the growing incidents of data and identity theft. The bill wouldrequire all credit unions, banks, third-party processors andretailers to notify consumers within 45 days after they havelearned of a theft of personal data. It would also allow thoseconsumers who have had or believe to have had their personalinformation stolen to place an immediate a freeze on their credit,in order to prevent its use by identity thieves. The bill wouldalso bar the buying and selling of Social Security numbers, whichis often done by third-party marketers. The bill is expected to becombined with one of a number of other proposals aimed ataddressing the growing incidents of online data theft.

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