According to the U.S. Department of Justice Statistics, identity theft is now passing up drug trafficking as the number one crime in the nation.
About 10 million people each year are victimized by identity theft.
Identity theft cost U.S. businesses and consumers $56.6 billion in 2005. (Source: Identity Theft Resource Center)
Michigan citizens can rest a little easier knowing that Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation today continuing to protect us from identity theft.
Granholm signed Senate Bill 309, sponsored by former Senator Shirley Johnson (R-Troy), which requires that Michigan residents be notified if the security of a database containing their personal information is breached.
The legislation stems from measures called for in Granholm's 2006 State of the State Address.
(See post below for what to do if you believe you are the victim of Identity Theft)
“Today’s technology has taken commerce and communication to new heights, but it also puts citizens at additional risk of identity theft as ever-increasing amounts of personal information are stored and transmitted electronically” Granholm said. “While I am pleased to sign legislation that provides critical information to consumers, we must do more to provide our citizens with the tools they need to truly protect themselves.”
The legislation signed today requires that individuals and government agencies notify consumers when a security breach puts personal information, including social security numbers, drivers license numbers, and financial information, at risk. Failure to properly notify consumers of a security breach can result in a fine of up to $750,000.
The new notification requirement is similar to one part of the legislative package Granholm called for last year. That proposal would have allowed consumers
“I am confident the new Legislature will build on this new law to provide consumers with the protection they need to guard against identity theft,” said Granholm.
- to freeze their credit reports in the event of identity theft,
- broadened the amount of data covered by the notification law and
- increased penalties for identity theft crimes.
(Courtesy: Office of the Governor)