For Immediate Release: March 13, 2003
Senate Bill to Protect Public Against Identity Theft Awaits House Action
Law enforcement often refers to it as one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States; it’s estimated that over half a million Americans become victims of identify theft every year. Criminals obtain social security numbers, then open credit card or checking accounts in the victim’s name and run up thousands of dollars in debt, ruining the victim’s credit rating in the process.
State Senator Nancy Riley is hoping a bill she’s written this session will help protect more Oklahomans from the crime of identity theft. Senate Bill 721 would require social security numbers to be removed from copies of official documents.
“There are any number of documents that fall under the state’s open record law containing social security numbers. Marriage licenses, accident reports or traffic tickets could give anyone, including criminals, access to an individual’s social security number. Senate Bill 721 would ensure those documents remain available to the public, but without putting an individual at risk for identity theft,” explained Senator Riley, R-Sand Springs.
Senator Riley’s legislation has made it halfway through the legislative process winning approval first at the committee level then by the full Senate. The bill has now been assigned to the House Rules committee and will be carried by Representative Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa.
“We’re tracked in so many ways by our social security number and it’s yours for life. By simply removing the social security number that contains so much personal information, that’s one less way for criminals to steal someone else’s identity,” said Riley.
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