Arizona AG hails passage of Identity theft bills

Terry Goddard

PHOENIX -- Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard on Thursday joined state lawmakers to mark the passage of legislation aimed at preventing consumers from identity theft.

The proposals - Senate Bill 1185 and House Bill 2587 - are awaiting signature by Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Senate Bill 1185, which was cleared both legislative chambers unanimously, would allow consumers to place or release a freeze on their credit reports. The bill allows for a $5 fee, half of what the major credit reporting agencies charge currently.

"The work done to pass this bill became a bipartisan effort," Goddard said. "This effort demonstrates that when everyone comes to the table, we can protect Arizona consumers."

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion voluntarily allow Arizona identity-theft victims currently to request a security freeze at no charge. If signed by the governor, SB 1185 would make that mandatory.

The other proposal, HB 2587 would require businesses to verify a consumer's identity before lending money or extending credit.

Goddard said the proposal will "take a huge bite out of identity theft."

The Federal Trade Commission in 2006 ranked Arizona first in the nation in the number of identity-theft victims per 100,000 residents. There were more than 9,100 cases of identity theft reported in the state that year.

"Arizona has been No. 1 for way too long in this area," Goddard said. "Arizona consumers deserve better and I think now they are going to get it."

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