Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF-East Northport) today announced his continued support of numerous pieces of legislation aimed to protect consumers from falling victim to Identity Theft. This growing problem is estimated to affect over 40,000 people each year. As the ranking minority member on the Banks Committee, Raia has vowed to fight to protect New Yorkers from this financially crippling crime.
“As criminals find ways to use new technology to steal, it is important that legislators take this issue very seriously and stay on the cutting edge to protect citizens from the devastating consequences of identity theft,” said Raia.
Identity Theft costs consumers and the financial industry billions of dollars. New York is seventh in the nation in the number of identity theft cases reported.
The Assembly passed legislation that would protect consumers by doing the following:
- Allow consumers who are or fear becoming Identity Theft victims to eliminate access to their personal information by placing a freeze on their credit reports;
- Prohibit individuals or businesses from filing with state agencies, departments or political subdivisions any personal information that is irrelevant or unnecessary to accomplish the filing;
- Require proper disposal of records containing personal information by shredding, destruction, modification or other reasonable actions that eliminate unauthorized access to the information;
- Limit use and disclosure of Social Security numbers by prohibiting intentional communication of numbers to the public, banning businesses from printing the numbers on mailings, cards and tags required to access products, services or benefits, and forbidding businesses from requiring transmission of unencrypted numbers over the Internet. The legislation also requires businesses to implement safeguards and limit unnecessary employee access to Social Security numbers; and
- Establish an Identity Theft prevention and mitigation unit within the Consumer Protection Board and a Task Force on Identity Security, as well as require law enforcement agencies to take identity theft complaints and issue reports.
“These measures will help protect New Yorkers, but there are many things that can be done to protect you from identity theft. The most important thing is to never provide information to anyone you don’t know or trust,” concluded Raia.