Identity Theft Prevention and Legislation
Fraud Guard Service
Did you know Craig Olive and the Johnston County Register of Deeds office have a fraud alert system?
“With property fraud cases on the rise, we want to provide a free service to help our citizens stay informed and take the necessary steps to protect their properties.”
To subscribe, visit us at https://www.johnstonnc.com/fraudguard
On December 1, 2005, the Identity Protection Act was started in all 100 county Register of Deeds offices. This law only allows the public to request their sensitive information to be covered up by their request. Most people would not know if their documents had any sensitive information on them. Here in Johnston County, we are taking a pro-active approach on this issue. For your convenience, starting October 1, 2009, we are covering up social security and driver’s license number, without you having to request it.
Since 2005, I have advocated to the Leaders of the NC General Assembly, to make this law tougher. With the help of Johnston County’s Senator David Rouzer, he introduced a bill to make it stronger. Along with him and Senator Josh Stein, of Wake County, they worked together to make a tougher law. I would like to applaud their efforts.
October 1, 2009, the register of deeds across NC can now voluntary cover up social security and driver’s licenses numbers without the public’s permission. We are now one step closer to protect the identity of the public that we serve. Someone’s identity is stolen every 3 seconds in the United States. The fastest growing crime in America.
If you have any other sensitive information that you feel needs to be covered up, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (919) 989-5160. I will continue to be a watchdog for the citizens of Johnston County.
Johnston County Register of Deeds
NC G.S.132-1.10(g)(1-2) Social Security Numbers and Other Personal Identifying Information
(g) A register of deeds or clerk of court shall immediately and conspicuously post signs throughout his or her offices for public viewing and shall immediately and conspicuously post a notice on any Internet Web site available to the general public used by a register of deeds or clerk of court a notice stating, in substantially similar form, the following:
(1) Any person preparing or filing a document for recordation or filing in the official records may not include a social security, employer taxpayer identification, driver’s license, state identification, passport, checking account, savings account, credit card, or debit card number, or personal identification G.S. 132-1.10 Page 4 (PIN) code or passwords in the document, unless expressly required by law or court order, adopted by the State Registrar on records of vital events, or redacted so that no more than the last four digits of the identification number is included.
(2) Any person has a right to request a register of deeds or clerk of court to remove, from an image or copy of an official record placed on a register of deeds' or clerk of court's Internet Web site available to the general public or on an Internet Web site available to the general public used by a register of deeds or clerk of court to display public records, any social security, employer taxpayer identification, driver’s license, state identification, passport, checking account, savings account, credit card, or debit card number, or personal identification (PIN) code or passwords contained in an official record. The request must be made in writing and delivered by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission, or delivered in person, to the register of deeds or clerk of court. The request must specify the personal information to be redacted, information that identifies the document that contains the personal information and unique information that identifies the location within the document that contains the social security, employer taxpayer identification, driver’s license, state identification, passport, checking account, savings account, credit card, or debit card number, or personal identification (PIN) code or passwords to be redacted. No fee will be charged for the redaction pursuant to such a request. Any person who requests a redaction without proper authority to do so shall be guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each violation.
Enhancement Identity Protection Act
Effective October 1, 2009
Introduced by Senator Josh Stein of Wake County and assisted by Senator David Rouzer of Johnston County. Influenced, advocated, and supported by Craig Olive, Johnston County Register of Deeds.
SECTION 3. G.S. 132-1.10 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
"(f1) Without a request made pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, a register of deeds or clerk of court may remove from an image or copy of an official record placed on a register of deeds' or clerk of court's Internet Web site available to the general public, or placed on an Internet Web site available to the general public used by a register of deeds or clerk of court to display public records, a person's social security or driver’s license number contained in that official record. Registers of deeds and clerks of court may apply optical character recognition technology or other reasonably available technology to official records placed on Internet Web sites available to the general public in order to, in good faith, identify and redact social security and driver’s license numbers."
Preventing Identity Theft
Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft
- NEVER give your personal account numbers, maiden name/mother’s maiden name and Social Security numbers out to anyone who contacts you by mail, email and especially by phone.
- Please remember to be cautious when filling out subscription forms, warranty cards, website registration forms and prize give-away forms.
- It is very important to put passwords on your bank accounts, credit cards etc. but avoid using passwords such as your birthdate, phone number, last four digits of your Social Security number and mother's maiden name.
- Avoid carrying PIN numbers, passports, birth certificates and Social Security cards with you if anyway possible. Any credit cards or ID cards that you don't need should not be carried with you.
- Each month check your credit card and other credit statements. Verify the charges and challenge any charges you did not authorize. If you should notice bills not arriving call your creditor to make sure that your billing address has not been changed by an identity thief.
- Protect your mail from theft. Use a locking mailbox or take it to your local post office.
- Never throw away documents with your personal information on them without tearing up or shredding them.
- Keep a list of all your financial accounts such as account numbers, expiry dates and customer help phone numbers. Make sure this information is put in a safe location in case of a stolen or lost card.
- "TRIAL MEMBERSHIPS" Beware. If you will be billed and later have to cancel if you don’t like the product it would be wise to refuse offer. You may not have given out your credit card number but you might still be billed.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus and ask to “Opt Out” of the pre-approved credit lists they sell to companies. You may request this online at www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-567-8688.
- Check your CREDIT REPORT at least 1 time a year to make sure it is accurate.
- You may want to make your telephone number unlisted or listed without your address.
Make sure you sign all new credit cards immediately to prevent someone else from doing so. Unfortunately, in this day and time we must be very careful with our personal information. Hopefully the above tips will help
- Better Business Bureau
- Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft website
- Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number
- Identity Theft Prevention and Survival website
- NC Attorney General's Office
- NC General Assembly: Identity Theft Protection Act 2005
- Social Security Administration Online
- US Department of Justice (Identity Theft section)
- US Postal Service
- US Secret Service
Identity Theft Telephone Numbers
If you are a victim of identity theft, call the fraud hotline for one of the three major credit-reporting agencies. As part of a new plan, the other two will be notified.
- Equifax -- (800) 525-6285
- Experian -- (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion -- (800) 680-7289
You can file a complaint:
- Federal Trade Commission -- (877) 438-4338
Other government ID theft hotlines:
- Social Security Administration -- (800) 269-0271
- Internal Revenue Service -- (800) 829-1040
- Federal Trade Commission Toll Free Hotline -- 1-877-IDTHEFT
Page last updated: October 24, 2023