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Security Freeze Legislation: Consumer Attitudes on Paying Activation and Lifting Fees

With an estimated annual cost of $50 billion to businesses and $5 billion to individuals, identity theft is one of the fastest growing financial crimes to which age 75+ individuals are twice as vulnerable as those 65 to 74, and three times more than people under 65.

Some states have already implemented, and many are currently considering Security Freeze legislation enabling consumers to block credit reporting agencies from releasing their personal financial information without written consent. Consumers will have the ability to lift the freeze at any time. Some state legislation includes charging fees for placing and lifting the freeze while other proposals exempt identity theft victims from paying any fees altogether.

These AARP telephone surveys examine the likelihood of age 18+ residents of Delaware, Oklahoma and South Carolina freezing and unfreezing their credit files if they have to pay a fee to do so. These three states, which the Federal Trade Commission ranks 19th, 29th and 31st respectively in the United States for the number of identity theft victims, are actively considering Security Freeze legislation.

All three of these identical surveys were conducted by Woelfel Research from March 17th through 28th, 2006. There were a total of 1,203 interviews – 402 in Delaware, 401 in Oklahoma and 400 in South Carolina. Survey responses for each state were weighted to reflect the distribution of age and gender among those 18 and older. Further information about the survey may be obtained by contacting the report's author, Jennifer H. Sauer of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-6207 or jsauer@aarp.org.

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