Assembly’s Identity Theft Protection Package Will Protect Central New Yorkers
May 17, 2006
To protect New York State residents from the invasive crime of identity theft, the Assembly has passed legislation I sponsored to help curb this growing problem. The Assembly’s complete package consists of several bills aiming to crack down on identity theft – a serious crime that can easily result in significant financial loss and damaged credit ratings. The bills protect New York residents from being targets of the crime and provide assistance to those who are victimized. In 2005, 17,000 New Yorkers filed complaints of fraud and identity theft. According to statistics from the Federal Trade Commission, there were more than 685,000 complaints of fraud and identity theft – and about $680 million reported stolen – in 2005 alone, numbers that continue to rise. According to a report from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, identity theft cost consumers millions in 2004. The report, unveiled last June as he introduced a comprehensive I.D. Theft Prevention Bill to the U.S. Senate, revealed the crime’s widespread effects. Statewide, an estimated 187,000 New Yorkers were victims of identity theft last year, costing consumers a total of $93 million. Restricting the use of personal information I sponsored an important bill in the package that places limits on the use and disclosure of an individual’s Social Security account number (A.10076-C). This legislation:
- restricts businesses’ ability to print an individual’s Social Security number (SSN) on mailings or on any card or tag required to access products, services, or benefits;
- prohibits businesses from requiring an individual to transmit his or her unencrypted SSN over the Internet; and
- requires businesses that possess SSNs to implement appropriate safeguards and limit unnecessary employee access to SSNs.
- shredding records before disposal;
- destroying personal information contained in the record before disposal;
- modifying the record to make personal information unreadable; or
- taking action consistent with commonly acceptable industry practices that it reasonably believes will ensure that no unauthorized person will have access to personal information contained in the record.