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    New York Passes Legislation to Strengthen Protections Against Identity Theft

    The New York legislature has passed S. 8376, a bill to strengthen identity theft laws. Among other things, the bill strengthens aspects of New York’s 2006 credit freeze law (where consumers can choose to "freeze" or lock access to their credit files to prevent individuals from trying to open a new account in their name); places restrictions on employers’ abilities to use an employee’s personal data, such as Social Security numbers; "establish a process by which victims of identity theft will receive assistance and information to resolve complaints" from the Consumer Protection Board’s Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Program; and outlaws the use of "skimmer" devices when there is intent to commit identity theft ("skimmer" devices can gather personal data from credit, debit or other cards and devices).

    The bill now goes to Governor Paterson, who supports the legislation. “The consequences of identity theft can be devastating and far-reaching. This bill recognizes the new risks facing consumers today and puts a number of critical safeguards in place to help the people of New York State protect their credit and their good names," he said.

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