Local Politics

Lawmakers pass tougher ID theft legislation

Posted July 16, 2009 5:50 p.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2009 6:39 p.m. EDT

— Identity theft protection could soon become tougher in North Carolina.

The state Senate on Thursday gave final legislative approval to expand the state's 2005 anti-identity theft protection law.

Changes backed by Attorney General Roy Cooper would allow consumers to get the freeze for free if requested online. Consumer reporting agencies have been able to charge up to $10. They will still be able to charge up to $3 if the request is made by phone or mail.

The bill also would permit some court officials to remove Social Security numbers from documents on their Web sites and require businesses and government agencies to report all security breaches to Cooper's office.

A WRAL News investigation last fall found thousands of online records that included personal information.

Right now, online property documents may contain Social Security numbers, drivers license information and banking account numbers that can only be removed by request.

If Gov. Beverly Perdue signs the bill, officials can begin redacting personal information as early as October.