A New Jersey Assembly panel has approved a bill that would
make it illegal for creditors to deny credit to people solely because they were
a victim of identity theft.
The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee voted to send the
measure to the full Assembly for further consideration. If approved there, the
bill - S1643 - would head to Gov. Jon Corzine's desk. The Senate unanimously
approved the bill this summer.
Violators would face penalties of $5,000 for every proven
incident of credit denial to a victim of identity theft.
"The scourge of identity theft shouldn't be allowed to
inflict further damage to victims by subjecting them to bad credit ratings,"
Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex, said in a written statement.
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