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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Indiana getting tough on identity theft

From an article by Mike Smith on ChicagoTribune.com:

" Indiana says it will use a new law and improved services to better protect residents from identity theft. A new state law creates the crime of synthetic identity theft to specify that combining parts of the identities of into a hybrid, fictional person in order to commit fraud is a felony punishable by six months to three years.

'With the downturn in the economy, criminals have become relentless in their efforts to steal the identities of consumers and fraudulently open lines of credit,' Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Tuesday. 'Identity theft is devastating to victims and can take months or years to untangle.'

Another provision gives victims of identity theft the ability to go to court and get a declaratory judgment, a legal document that says the person was an innocent victim, in order to correct their records.

The law that took effect July 1 also increases the penalties for database owners who discard consumers' personal data, such as Social Security numbers, in a way that could subject them to identity theft -- such as not shredding, blacking out or incinerating them first. Authorities can now seek penalties of $5,000 per incident. Database owners also are now required to notify the attorney general's office, as well as consumers, if a security breach occurs."

The full article can be found at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-in-identitytheft,0,6669947.story.

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