New York State Senator Thomas P. Morahanintroduced first-of-its-kind legislation to protect consumers by restricting the confidentiality and disclosure of social security numbers. Morahan’s action comes on the heels of a January 2006 Federal Trade Commission report which revealed that 17, 387 complaints of Identity Theft were reported in New York State.
"I am alarmed at rising levels of ID theft in New York State. Rockland County, a suburban county which I represent, saw a significant rise in reported ID Thefts. I was particularly concerned at a recent federal Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) survey which revealed that a number of private contractors are able to gain access to individual Social Security numbers, and that they ‘present a potentially serious security risk," said Morahan.
The introduction of the landmark ID Theft legislation, which restricts the use and display of an individual’s Social Security Number coincides with National Consumer Protection Week.
The GAO report indicated that once a social security number is obtained fraudulently, it can then be used as "breeder" information to create additional false identification documents, such as driver’s licenses.
New York State had the third highest number of reported cases of identity theft last year.
Senator Morahan will also announce additional ID theft legislation making it a felony to possess and unlawfully use a miniature scanning device, a practice which law enforcement officials indicate is on the rise. The tiny device can be used to secretly access and duplicate a consumer’s personal and financial data.