The Arizona Senate has approved a bill intended to protect consumers
from identity theft.
Senators voted 21-7 to advance a bill that would require companies to
notify people affected by any breaches in security. It also applies to
Rules requiring consumer notification of data security breaches are on
the books in about 20 states.
Sponsored by Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, the bill would cover
information identifying people’s driver’s license numbers, Social Security
numbers, credit cards and financial accounts.
Violators would face up to a $10,000 fine for each individual who did
not get proper notification.
The bill – SB1338 – now heads to the House. If approved there, it would
head to Gov. Janet Napolitano for her signature.
Huppenthal’s measure is one of several identity theft protection
efforts that were brought forward this year by lawmakers in Arizona.
The protections are being sought to help the state combat a plague of
The state and the Phoenix area have the highest per-capita rates of
identity-theft related complaints among states and large metropolitan areas
nationwide, The Associated Press reported.
Among the other identity theft protections before lawmakers is a bill
also offered by Huppenthal that is intended to help prevent the unwanted
opening of an account or the obtaining of credit in a person’s name. The bill –
SB1347 – would allow consumers to place security “freezes” on their credit that
would block a credit report agency from releasing any information without the
Consumers could have the freeze put in place for $15. If they later
want to apply for credit, they could have the freeze lifted for a fee of $15.
A bill – HB2016 – offered by Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, would mandate
that companies destroy or otherwise protect a customer’s personal information.
Violators would face at least a $10,000 fine.
However, the Senate killed a bill that would have mandated jail or
prison time for a person convicted of identity theft. Sponsored by Sen. Marilyn
Jarrett, R-Mesa, it would have required that offenders serve at least 180 days
in jail if placed on probation and not sentenced to prison.
To help prevent identity theft, authorities warn consumers should 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
SB1347 won unanimous approval in the Senate and has been sent to the
House for further consideration. HB2016 is in two House committees.