U.S. Senate Passes Bill to
Combat ID Theft
November 19, 2007
The United States Senate has approved the Identity Theft Enforcement
and Restitution Act (S. 2168), a measure co-sponsored by Senator
Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The legislation implements recommendations
from the President's Identity Theft Task Force, and is crafted
to provide the law enforcement community with improved tools
and increased penalties to better combat identity theft and other
"Millions of Americans
and thousands of Alaskans fall victim to identity theft every
year. It can take months or even years to restore their financial
health," said Senator Stevens. "It is important that
Congress give law enforcement the necessary tools to combat identity
theft, and S. 2168 is a critical step forward in the fight against
this growing epidemic."
Alaska ranked fifth per capita
in the number of identity fraud complaints filed last year. Nationwide,
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that each year more
than eight million Americans or roughly 4.6 percent of
the domestic adult population are victims of identity theft.
The FTC indicates that physical and online identity theft accounted
for 40 percent of the more than 616,000 consumer fraud complaints
filed last year with the agency. In 2006, it is estimated that
the losses to businesses and financial institutions due to identity
theft totaled $52.6 billion, and the out-of-pocket losses to
consumers totaled $5 billion. These figures do not include the
average 300 hours spent by each identity theft victim to restore
their financial health.
S. 2168 would supplement the Identity Theft Prevention Act (S.
1178) sponsored Senator Stevens and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
The Senate Commerce Committee approved this legislation earlier
this year. It is designed to strengthen information safeguards
and ensure notification to consumers whose sensitive personal
information has been acquired without authorization.
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