2005-02-25 / Community

Addabbo Addresses Identity Theft

City Council Member Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. announced that he has cosponsored three pieces of legislation in the Council aimed at protecting and informing consumers about identity theft. These bills also make businesses and the government responsible for protecting sensitive personal information. The first piece of legislation would allow the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs to suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew business licenses if the business has violated the New York State identity theft law two or more times. The other two proposed laws require city agencies and businesses licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs to inform citizens when there has been a security breach that caused their personal information to be compromised.

Identity theft is a crime that victimized nearly 10 million Americans in 2003. Individuals lost $5 billion and businesses were defrauded of more than $45 billion.

Addabbo noted that according to government statistics, in 2001 New York City had the highest number of identity theft victims of any city in the country. In 2003, there were almost three times as many acts of identity theft in New York City than in any other city in New York State.

“Identity theft and identity fraud represent an ever-growing, increasingly sophisticated category of criminal activity, and thieves are constantly developing new schemes that leave consumers in financial distress,” said Addabbo, adding, “Armed with little more than a name, date of birth, and social security number, an identity thief is able to commit serious crime and inflict severe financial damage.”

In explaining the need for his legislation Addabbo said, “These identity thieves should not be permitted to profit from City residents or act as authorized licensees of the City.”

For more information call Council Member Addabbo’s office at 718-738-1111

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