Sep 05 2001

SEN. SHELBY INTRODUCES BILL TO FIGHT IDENTITY THEFT

Legislation would cut down on the occurence of identity theft and fraud

U. S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), joined with Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) to introduce the Identity Theft Protection Act of 2001, legislation designed to assist identity theft victims in restoring their credit and requiring banks and credit bureaus to take precautions against identity fraud. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimating 350,000 cases annually.

The legislation would direct the Federal Trade Commission to issue guidelines requiring credit bureaus to investigate discrepancies between the address on a credit card application and the address in the bureaus' files. Credit card issuers who issue new cards without adequately verifying the identity of the applicant would face penalties. The legislation would also require credit card issuers to notify customers when an address change or other activity on their account suggests possible fraud. The process of reporting fraud by identity theft victims would also be streamlined, so accurate credit can quickly be restored.

Sen. Shelby said, "Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our country today, and I believe will only continue to escalate in the future. The legislation Senator Feinstein and I have introduced includes several small common-sense measures aimed at minimizing the occurrence of identity theft."

The bill would also prohibit new credit-card machines from printing either the complete credit card number on a receipt or the expiration date of cards on the receipts. Existing machines would be required to comply to this standard by 2006.