Identity theft is on the rise in Tennessee, and it’s costing residents. A recent report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shows a more than 20% increase of identity theft in the Volunteer State last year as 6,808 Tennesseans reported being a victim of identity theft. Scam artists have preyed on Tennesseans, making the Tennessee the 21st in the nation for reports of identity theft.
To help protect consumers, Tennessee Department of Commerce is reminding residents of recent credit freeze laws that can help “freeze out” scammers in the event that a swindler ever compromises a consumer’s identity or the identity of a consumer’s dependent.
A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is a free tool that allows consumers to restrict access to their credit reports, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts. In 2017, Tennessee lawmakers passed a law giving parents and guardians the right to freeze the credit of a minor under 16 years of age or an incapacitated person under the care of a guardian or conservator at no charge. The federal government has since passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act granting free credit freezes to consumers and their dependents.