“Because of a loophole in our identity theft laws, if an identity thief were to use a child’s Social Security number of a child with an unrelated third-party name, they would not be in violation,” said Senator Duff. “This is a simple bill, but an important bill that will help protect children from identity thieves and from damage they may not even realize has occurred until much later in life.”
The topic was covered in a segment aired on NBC’s Today Show this morning and in a report on MSNBC.com’s Red Tape Chronicles last month.
Technically, the bill expands the type of conduct that constitutes an identity theft crime. Under current law, identity theft involves knowingly using another person’s personal identifying information to obtain or attempt to obtain—in the person’s name and without his or her consent—money, credit, goods, services, property or medical information.
The bill approved in the Senate removes the requirement that a perpetrator must use or attempt to use a person’s name for the action to constitute a crime.
By law, identity theft is a class B, C or D felony, depending on the value of the property involved and whether the victim is under age 60. A class B felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000 or both. A class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. A class D felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
The legislation—Senate Bill 958, An Act Concerning Child Identity Theft—now moves to the state House of Representatives for consideration. It was previously approved unanimously in both the Banks and Judiciary Committees.
The 2011 regular legislative session adjourns on June 8.
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