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Committee Kills Identity Theft and Personal Privacy Protection Act

Senator Chuck Poochigian

"In spite of the fact that Californians are under siege by identity thieves, our state laws have not kept up with high-tech criminals. As long as the penalties for identity theft amount to a slap-on-the-wrist, we should expect this epidemic to continue. The committee's rejection of the California Identity Theft and Personal Privacy Protection Act today will result in more victims of identity theft, and inadequate sentencing for perpetrators of these financially devastating crimes."

- Senator Chuck Poochigian

Senate Public Safety Committee Kills Identity Theft Measure

The Senate Public Safety Committee voted today to kill Senator Poochigian's California Identity Theft and Personal Privacy Protection Act (SB 839). The measure would have given law enforcement new tools to combat identity thieves, increased penalties for perpetrators, and updated our laws to account for new technology, among other things. Following is a description of the problem of identity theft in California, and the issues that the California Identity Theft and Personal Privacy Protection Act sought to address.

The Crime and Costs of Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the nation. In a 2004 FTC study, California ranked as the third highest state (behind Arizona and Nevada) as having the greatest number of identity theft victims - at 635,000 victims or 122.1 per 100,000 population. In 2004, consumers reported losses of $547 million. It took the average consumer victim 175 hours and $800 to resolve identity theft problems, and it took an average of two to four years for victims to clear their names.

Reasons for the Rise in Identity Theft

There are a few reasons why criminals choose identity theft. Three often cited are that:

California Identity Theft and Personal Protection Act

In response to the growing problem of identity theft in California, Senator Poochigian introduced the California Identity Theft and Personal Protection Act (SB 839). It is an expanded version of last year's Identity Theft Traffickers Act, which also sought to increase penalties for the trafficking and misuse of personal identifying information.

Highlights of the California Identity Theft and Personal Protection Act - SB 839:

Identity Theft News

"We must give law enforcement the tools they need to pursue and prosecute all levels of identity thieves - from high-tech hackers to dumpster-diving drug abusers. Thousands more Californians should not have to be victimized before the Legislature takes action. Enhanced penalties deter criminals, and I am committed to continuing to work to make the punishment for identity theft fit the crime."

- Senator Chuck Poochigian

Media Contact: Seth Unger
(916) 445-9600

Capitol Office (916)445-9600
Fresno Office (559) 253-7122
Ripon Office (209) 599-8540

Key issues

According to the California District Attorneys Association

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Updated December 2, 2006

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