By a vote of 72-1, the full Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Nancy Pinkin and James Kennedy to establish an identity theft database that would facilitate investigations by law enforcement and help victims rebuild their lives and reputations.
“Millions of people each year have their lives completely upended by identity theft. Most victims don’t know how the offender obtained their information, and many find themselves not knowing where to start when it comes to reporting and investigating the crime,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Establishing this database can help law enforcement collect information, track patterns and bring perpetrators to justice.”
The bill (A-4156) would require New Jersey’s attorney general to establish and maintain a database of people who have been victims of identity theft. The database would be accessible only to law enforcement agencies, victims of identity theft and parties authorized by victims.
“Dealing with identify theft can be enormously frustrating and overwhelming,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “This database would go a long way in helping victims regroup by verifying to credit reporting agencies and other entities that they have, in fact, had their identities stolen.”
To be included in the database, a victim must submit to the attorney general a copy of a police report filed with a local law enforcement agency, a copy of any related court order and any other information prescribed by the attorney general.
“Identity theft is a growing problem and a constant source of frustration,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “In addition to aiding victims, the information in this database will assist law enforcement agencies in the ongoing investigation of and crackdown on identity theft.”
The measure now awaits action by the Senate.