State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) announced today that a new law he sponsored will require police departments to take a report from suspected victims of identity theft, because a police report is an important first step in repairing the damage caused by identity theft.
Senator Fuschillo said, "Obtaining a police report that documents the crime committed against an identity theft victim is a crucial step that helps the victim prove their case and seek the restitution they deserve. This new law will make creation of a police report standard operating procedure in identity theft cases and will encourage New Yorkers who suspect that someone is using their Social Security number or other personal information to seek a report from the police."
A police report is important in identity theft cases for many reasons:
- Allows an ID theft victim to obtain receipts and records from stores, credit card companies and other businesses that were used by an identity thief;
-After a victim obtains a police report the credit bureaus, upon request, can initiate a Security Freeze;
-Helps an ID theft victim to obtain a free copy of their credit report; and
-Once an identity has been stolen, the victim may be accused of crimes committed by the thief so if a police report has been filed, authorities have a record of the crime and victims have a way to prove their identity.
In 2006, eight percent of identity theft victims notified their local police but a formal report was not taken, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the incidence and consequences of identity theft. That same year, 30 percent of identity theft victims filed a police report while 62 percent did not notify the police, according to the FTC's analysis.
In New York State, more than 16,450 people reported some form of identity theft in 2006. An FTC analysis in 2003 estimated billions of dollars are lost to identity theft each year, including:
- Misuse of personal information to steal money or goods ($33 billion lost each year nationwide with an average loss of $10,200 per victim);
- Fraud involving a credit card ($50 billion lost each year nationwide with an average loss of $4,800); and,
- Victims estimated that they spent $500 on average to deal with their ID theft experience ($5 billion nationwide).
Senator Fuschillo worked with the state Consumer Protection Board to establish this law. The new law takes effect immediately.
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