lawmakers are pursuing new protections
to help the state combat a plague of identity theft by requiring businesses to
do more to protect customers and clients.
The state and the
area have the highest per-capita
rates of identity-theft related complaints among states and large metropolitan
areas nationwide, The Associated Press reported.
To protect consumers, a group of lawmakers
have prefiled legislation that would make the crime harder to commit, toughen
the punishment and help victims who lose privacy and money – with more measures
in the works.
One effort offered by Rep. Chuck Gray,
R-Mesa, would mandate that companies destroy or otherwise protect a customer’s
personal information. A separate effort from Gray would require businesses to
notify people whose personal information could be affected by security breaches
when they occur.
requiring consumer notification of data security breaches are on the books in
at least 20 states. Among the states with new identity theft rules approved
this year are
Sen. Marilyn Jarrett, R-Mesa, sponsored
her own bill that would mandate jail or prison time for offenders.
In addition, Sen. Bill Brotherton,
D-Phoenix, is working with Gov. Janet Napolitano on legislation that would let
victims go to court to ask for an order clearing their credit records and have
prosecutors submit information on identity theft cases to credit bureaus, the Tucson Citizen reported.
The bills will be considered in the
legislative session that begins next month.