Friday, December 30, 2005

Illinois Gets Tough with Identity Theft

Starting in January, '06 residents of Illinois now
will have added weapons available to them in the fight
against identity theft according to the Illinois Public
Interest Research Group.

While Congress has mulled over a dozen different
bills, we've seen individual states take action following the
public disclosure of personal data security breaches
involving notable companies this year involving nearly
50 million Americans. High profile disclosures
involving ChoicePoint, DSW Shoe, MasterCard International, &
Bank of America have forced lawmakers in some states
like Illinois to emulate the 2003 California law requiring
consumers to be notified when their sensitive personal
information is exposed.

It's no longer strictly considered the fault of the consumers,
but rather the responsibility also of the large firms
who manage highly confidential personal information to
adopt stricter security measures to protect security breaches
which can negatively impact the privacy of millions
of individuals at a time.

As a result, Illinois now has two new tough laws
scheduled to take effect January 1, 2006:

  1. The Credit Freeze Act allows victims of identity theft
    to block access to their credit report which will prevent
    thieves from taking out credit in victims' names.
  2. The Security Breach Notification Act requires
    companies, non-profits and state and local government
    to notify Illinois residents if the security of their
    personal information has been compromised.

Additionally, consumers in Illinois have the right
from businesses to plug some of the security holes
identity thieves use to steal their personal
information.

Insurance companies can no longer print your social
security number(ssn) on consumer insurance cards.
The insurance company must replace that card with a new
identification number by January 1, 2006.

Coming in July, 2006, all businesses will be
prohibited from publicly posting your social security
number or printing it on any cards unless you do not
ask them to stop from their current practice.

So, our tip for today, is if you live in Illinois
take advantage of these tough new options to protect
your credit identity from theft and fraud.

We advise, for everyone, the adoption of automatic credit
monitoring as an effective tool to minimize the extent of
damage an identity thief can cause.

Your financial privacy is your right.

Make it your New Year's resolution.

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