Attorney General Charlie Crist News Release
May 3, 2005
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Praises Legislation Cracking Down on ID Theft
TALLAHASSEE - Attorney General Charlie Crist today praised the Florida Legislature for passage of an act that directly targets identity theft. The Unlawful Use of Personal Identification Information Act, sponsored by Senator Dave Aronberg and Representative Leslie Waters, provides tougher penalties for those who fraudulently use another's personal identification information.
In addition to imposing harsher penalties for identity theft, the new legislation will also require businesses that maintain computerized data that includes personal information to provide notice whenever they experience breaches of system security. The legislation comes at a time when the nation is reeling from several breaches of security in such companies, including ChoicePoint and LexisNexis. Under the law passed today, people affected by the breaches must now be notified by the companies.
"Identity theft is a destructive and demoralizing crime," said Crist. "A good name is priceless and extremely hard to restore. Consumers are responsible for protecting their personal information, but businesses that collect this data must be held accountable if individuals are put at financial risk through no fault of their own."
"Identity theft is quickly becoming the leading crime committed against the citizens of Florida," added Rep. Waters. "It is my hope that this new law will become the model that other states will adopt to curb the spread of identity theft."
The Attorney General has targeted identity theft as a serious problem in Florida and has taken special measures to educate and protect Florida consumers. Last December, he hosted Florida's first Identity Theft Summit in Miami. According to the Federal Trade Commission's 2005 report on fraud and identity theft, Florida ranks sixth in the nation in the number of victims per 100,000 population. In 2004 there were more than 16,000 identity theft victims in Florida.