On Your Side: AvoID Theft, Part 2

By: Ryan Duffy
By: Ryan Duffy

The growing crime of identity theft seems to be unstoppable.

But a new bill working through congress will try to at least make it difficult for identity thieves.

12 On Your Side's Ryan Duffy shows you the bill's local connections.

The crime of identity theft is huge, but so far there are very few nationwide laws to try and bring it under control.

Identity theft has been on Alice Walker's mind lately.

As assistant director of the Augusta Library, her personal information was recently stolen along with that of thousands of city employees.

The information was on a computer, stolen from the ING company, a city contractor.

There haven't been any reports of fraud from the theft, but it has Alice worried.

"I'm pretty careful about all these credit card offers, shredding them and not giving out social security number, but haven't really pursued it," she says. "I'll do that a lot more now, I think."

It seems almost impossible to keep your personal information out of the hands of thieves, especially with prepared offers of credit showing up in the mailbox for anyone to take.

But now under new legislation in Congress, if your identity is ever stolen, at least you will know.

"Data that belongs to anybody or any group should be protected and shouldn't be allowed to be taken by any data brokers to use any way they wish to use it," says Georgia Congressman Charlie Norwood.

Norwood is pushing Bill 4127. The bill would require companies that collect and sell personal financial information to contact individuals if their data is stolen. As of now, they don't even have to do that.

The bill also puts more restriction on how those companies can operate.

Norwood compares it to medical information: "The physician or the hospital is responsible to make sure that data doesn't get into the hands of just anyone in the world. That's what we are trying to do with personal data."

The ID theft bill has been approved by the House and is waiting on a Senate vote.

The bill will also require the Federal Trade Commission to set rules and guidelines for the security of personal information and enforce those rules.

Until now there's really been nothing governing all these companies that collect and sell your data.

In related news, the government has announced it will no longer offer free credit monitoring to veterans whose information was on a stolen laptop.

The laptop has been recovered, and the FBI says they are very confident none of the information was stolen.

The White House canceled extra funds for the credit monitoring, but the Veterans Administration says they plan to continue to watch for patterns of fraud.

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