Identity Theft Laws

Read about the most important current legislation – state credit freeze laws…

Previous Legislation

One major California bill during 2002 is SB 168 by Senator Deborah Bowen. It limits use of Social Security numbers in the private sector, and beefs up security of California citizen’s credit record. Read more…

In 2002, there were two major bills being considered in the the Congress relating to identity theft:

Identity Theft Victims Assistance Act of 2002 -Bill 1742 sponsored by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell. [ More Info ]

Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Financial Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

  • Establishes a nation-wide process for victims of identity theft to obtain business records related to an identity theft, to facilitate the victim’s correction of false records and assist law enforcement in obtaining evidence to apprehend the identity thieves.
  • Clarifies that for victims of identity theft, the statute of limitations for the Fair Credit Reporting Act will be five years, rather than the current two, addressing the Supreme Court’s decision in TRW v. Andrews.
  • Requires consumer credit reporting agencies to block reporting of bad credit that arises from identity theft.
  • Expands the role of the federal Coordinating Committee on False Identification beyond the current mandate to review federal enforcement of identity theft law, to examine:

    • state and local enforcement, and report to Congress on how the federal government can better help state and local identity theft law enforcement, and
    • how the federal government can best provide timely and current information regarding terrorists or terrorist activity as such information relates to identity theft.

Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2001 – S. 1399 sponsored by California Senator Diane Feinstein. [ More Info ]

Status: Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

  • Increase penalties by two years for anyone who commits “aggravated identity theft” in order to perpetrate a serious federal predicate offense (listed in the bill and including immigration violations, false citizenship crimes, firearms offenses, and other serious crimes).
  • Increase penalties by five years for anyone who commits identity theft for the purpose of committing a terrorist act.

The additional years would run consecutively with the sentence for the underlying crime, but a judge could combine terms of additional identity thefts committed to perpetrate the same underlying offense.

  • Make it easier for prosecutors to prove identity theft by stating that as long as criminal intent is proved for the underlying offense, no further proof of intent is required.
  • Add the word “possesses” to current law so that prosecutors can go after ID thieves who possess false identity documents with the intent to commit a crime – current law only punishes the transfer or sale of those documents.
  • Increase the maximum term of imprisonment for ordinary identity theft and for possession of false identification documents from three to five years. Impose a higher maximum penalty for identity theft used to facilitate acts of domestic terrorism (current law imposes this same penalty for an act of international terrorism, but not domestic terrorism).