Identity Theft Laws

A new federal law hopes to provide better protection against consumer credit and identity.

Marissa Jackson knows firsthand what it's like to have someone take advantage of your credit.

Marissa says, "I had someone take my checks through the mail and use them, so that was an ordeal. I had to sign an affidavit of forgery and all of that, and I'm still having a hard time getting it off of my report."

Jackson, like many Americans, has had their credit tarnished because of theft. A new law called the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act will help in creating a national fraud alert system and provide consumers with a free credit report every year from each of the major credit bureaus.

Anita Prater feels the new law is needed.

Anita says, "Particularly now that we've done a lot of things on the Internet, knowing that you've got some backup coverage and some legal recourse if something happens, it makes you feel a little more secure."

The new law also provides for consumers to have access to their credit records with a single phone call. Members of area law enforcement say the law is a plus for consumers; however, there are still several simple things people can do to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Bill Bierbaul with the Tallahassee Police Department advises, "Never disregard a receipt in the trash. Always shred it if you can or tear it up where people cannot identify the number, expiration date and your name. It they have that there is a possibility they could charge something against your credit card."

The new law also prohibits merchants from printing more than the last five digits of a credit card on a receipt.