Wed, Jan. 22

Identity theft strikes Verde Valley<br><i>Credit information lures thieves</i>

Arizona congressman introduces identity theft bill

U.S. Congressman John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation, which will strengthen and improve upon existing federal identity theft law.

This law, the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, was authored by Congressman Shadegg and was signed into law in 1998. Congressman Shadegg's new initiative H.R. 2617, the Consumer Identity and Information Security Act of 2003 enhances consumers' ability to protect themselves from fraud and requires businesses to better safeguard personally identifiable information.

Shadegg's bill, H.R. 2617, will prohibit the display of social security numbers on any communication to an individual unless federal or state law requires it. Further, it will require mandatory truncation of credit card and debit card numbers printed on receipts at the point of sale between merchants and consumers and will create a centralized reporting system that allows any consumer or business to report identity theft, thus eliminating the need to contact each credit reporting agency individually.

"According to the FTC, Arizona has the third highest rate of identity theft in the country. The nature of identity theft has changed and the threat today is more likely than ever to come from breaches of data security, compared to traditional forms of theft. This measure addresses the changing nature of the identity theft crime and protects all consumers from being victimized," Shadegg said.

Additionally, H.R. 2617 will require that a consumer reporting agency include a fraud alert on a credit profile upon a consumer's request and require that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) create guidelines for businesses to follow when customer information has been compromised or stolen.

"In today's high-tech world, consumers' personal information is often stored in computer databases that are vulnerable to hackers. This legislation is an important step in the road to crack-down on identity theft crimes because it better enables victims or potential victims to safeguard their credit record and will ensure that a consumer's personal information is not compromised," Shadegg said.

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