Veteran Update Set precedent in Texas by freezing credit bureau files for veterans, active duty and reserve military personnel who's data was part of the "Veteran Administration Security Breach" on May 3rd, 2006 in Washington D.C. of 26.5 million veterans and 2.2 million active duty military personnel.
Credit Bureau Updates
Experian, TransUnion and Equifax has announced as of November 1st, 2007, all consumers in all 50 states can freeze their credit bureau files from access by would-be-ID Thieves. Currently, 38 states have state freeze laws mandated by their respective state legislatures. These laws are not overridden by this announcement. Only the states without state freeze laws in force as of November 1st, 2007 are applicable to the guidelines and procedures set forth by this announcement.
However, this announcement is a tremendous win for the veterans and active duty military personnel that were "Victims of the VA Security Breach" in Washington D.C. , May 6th, 2006. Because our organization had already set precedent in 24 states (see below), we can now give all members of the security breach (26.5 million veterans, 2.2 million active duty) the option to freeze their credit bureau files in all fifty states, "FREE OF CHARGE". By utilizing the documents we used in 2006 and 2007 to freeze credit files (VA letter, Police Report-Montgomery County, Credit Bureau Freeze Letter) in these 24 states, we can now apply the documents nationwide.
By utilizing the current "Credit Bureau Freeze Laws" that exist in seventeen (17) states (24 states after January 01, 2007), our organization actions makes it possible for approximately twelve (12) million veterans to have the option of "TO FREEZE OR NOT TO FREEZE" their personal credit bureau files. On January 1, 2007, that number will grow to approximately fifteen (15) million. Of the 2.2 million active duty members, their option to freeze will be based upon their "Home of Record" state. If their "Home of Record" is one of the twenty-four (24) states, then they can freeze their files. If they are not, then the only option available to them is an "Active Duty Fraud Alert" placed on one of the three national credit bureau's.
HOW BAD IS IDENTITY THEFT?
The FTC concluded that 40 million adults (A/O 12/31/04) had been victimized by some form of ID theft in the past six years. Victims spend between 30 and 800 hours cleaning up the problem, depending on how severe the theft is (one credit card stolen or your whole wallet, the agency said.
ID theft can be extremely lucrative for criminals, the survey found, who can walk away with over $10,000 per victim when they manage a full-blown identity theft.
Despite consumers' increased willingness to share information with the Federal Trade Commission, many still aren't telling law enforcement agencies about their crimes. About 61 percent told the FTC they didn't complain to a local police department. Another 8 percent went to police, but did not get a police report. That is 28 Million (69% OF 40 Million Victims) Victims of “ID Theft” that never hit the police blotters. That's important because several consumer rights are only available to those who obtain police reports which confirm the incident. TOP CITIES FOR VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT (No. of Victims Per 100,000 Population), Source FTC, January 2005 to December 2005
1. Phoenix, AZ. 178.3
2. Las Vegas, NV. 158.5
3. Riverside, CA. 145.7
4. DFW Arlington, TX 141.2
5. Los Angeles, CA 134.9
6. Miami, FL. 131.7
7. San Francisco, CA. 130.7
8. Houston, TX. 128.1
9. San Diego, CA. 121.4
10. San Antonio, TX. 119.1
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You can send your ID Theft Victim Stories to : Identity Theft Victims U.S., Attention: Victim Stories, P.O. Box 2723, Wylie, TX. 75098-2723