(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Herb Conaway, Raj Mukherji and Robert Karabinchak to make it easier for identity theft victims to clear their names in criminal cases associated with fraud and mistaken identity was given final legislative approval on Monday by the full Senate, 36-0.
The bill (A-2991) requires the Attorney General to provide an Identity Theft Passport to certain victims of identity theft.
“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, affecting nearly ten million Americans a year,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “Victims of identity theft can spend thousands of dollars and many years undoing the damage caused by these crimes.”
Under the bill, a person who is a resident of this state and has filed a police report stating that the person reasonably believes or reasonably suspects that he has been the victim of identity theft, may be issued an identity theft passport by the Attorney General, upon application. A person may apply for an identity theft passport by sending a copy of the police report, an application for identity, and any other supporting documentation requested by the Attorney General.
The bill provides that an identity theft passport issued by the Attorney General may be presented to any of the following:
(1) A law enforcement agency to assist the agency in its investigation into whether false charges were against the victim for an offense committed by a person other than the victim who is using the victim’s identity;
(2) Any creditor of the victim to aid in the creditor’s investigation and establishment of whether fraudulent charges were made against accounts in the victim’s name or whether accounts were opened using the victim’s identity;
(3) Any other entity to aid in the investigation of whether the victim’s identity was obtained fraudulently or used without the victim’s consent.
“An Identity Theft Passport can help alleviate some of the costs and stress associated with identity theft,” Mukherji (D-Hudson). “By giving identity theft victims a way to definitively prove their identity, it may help resolve financial issues that arise as a result of the theft and, possibly, prevent a wrongful arrest in situations where a crime has been committed under the stolen identity.”
“The rise in hacking incidents involving major corporations over the last few years has shown us how vulnerable personal information is in this age of technology,” said Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). “An Identity Theft Passport will be essential to financial recovery for victims of identity theft.”
The bill will now go to the Governor for further consideration.