ID theft bill sent to New York governor

| 8/22/2005

A bill before New York Gov. George Pataki is intended to head off identity thieves.

The “Information Security Breach and Notification Act” would require all companies in New York that keep information that could be used in identity theft to notify people affected by any breaches in security.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Brennan, D-Brooklyn, the bill would cover any business, state agency, organization or person who kept computerized information identifying people’s driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, the Westchester County Business Journal reported. It would require a person to be contacted if their account information also includes passwords or other information enabling a thief to access the accounts.

Failure to notify people that their personal or financial information had been compromised would result in a $5,000 fine or $10 per person, whichever amount is greater.

The bill would cover businesses and organizations of any size and the personal information doesn’t need to be that of customers. Members of an organization or employees whose information was breached would also have to be notified.

Rules requiring consumer notification of data security breaches are on the books in at least 15 states.

The New York bill – A4254 – unanimously passed the state’s Assembly and Senate. If signed by the governor, it would take effect in four months.

To help prevent identity theft, authorities warn consumers to look out for their own interests by reading their credit card statements, reviewing their credit report once a year, and destroying unwanted credit card offers.

If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you are encouraged to file a police report and a complaint with the state attorney general’s office.