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Whose Credit is it Anyway? A Survey of Washington State Adults 18+ About Security Freeze Legislation

As of 2005, the state of Washington had the seventh highest number of ID theft victims in the United States, and Seattle was the state’s top city for reported ID theft crimes. With the incidence of identity theft and related crimes continuing to increase, many states have responded by either implementing or considering passage of Security Freeze legislation that would enable consumers to have credit reporting agencies freeze their credit files to keep their information from being released without their written consent. Security freeze measures could thus keep ID thieves from using stolen data to fraudulently open new credit lines in their victims’ names.

This AARP survey examines how likely age 18+ Washingtonians would be to freeze their credit files if doing so entailed a fee for activating and/or deactivating the freeze. In general, it found that Washingtonians strongly support the enactment of Security Freeze legislation and are most likely to use the service if it is free of charge. However, this likelihood decreases in varying degrees depending on the amount they would be charged and whether the fee would be imposed for freezing or unfreezing their files.

The random telephone survey of 800 age 18+ Washington state residents was conducted for AARP by Woelfel Research, Inc. from August 25th through September 1st, 2006. Further information about the survey may be obtained by contacting Jennifer Sauer, the report’s author, at 202-434-6207. (20 pages)

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