ID theft protections approved in New York

| 10/2/2006

Gov. George Pataki has signed into law three measures intended to protect New York consumers from identity theft.

The protections are being sought to help the state combat the growing problem of identity theft by establishing the Consumer Communication Records Privacy Act, placing limits on the use and disclosure of Social Security numbers and further classifies and defines what is considered a computer crime.

“As criminals continue to come up with new schemes to steal consumers’ personal information, we must enact stronger laws that ensure the safety and privacy of consumers, and protect them from identity theft,” Pataki said in a written statement.

The Privacy Act, previously S6723, prohibits the sale, fraudulent transfer or solicitation of a person’s telephone records without their consent.

The second bill – S6909 – enacted into law puts new limits on Social Security numbers. It restricts businesses from printing an individual’s number on mailings and prohibits companies from requiring an individual to transmit their SSN over the Internet.

The third effort – A891 – is the state’s first anti-spyware law. It allows for prosecution of individuals who intentionally disrupt or steal personal information or plant malicious spyware, adware and other viruses on personal computers.

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 office.