Published: February 2008

Privacy and identity theft statutes

The 2008 edition of a California government report, "Consumer Privacy and Identity Theft - A Summary of Key Statutes and Guide for Lawmakers," is available.

For the seventh year in a row, identity theft tops the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top 10 consumer complaints. The most common form of reported identity theft is credit card fraud, followed by phone or utilities fraud, bank fraud, and employment fraud. And among the 50 states, California ranks third in identity theft victims per capita, after Arizona and Nevada.

Social security numbers are the most frequently used recordkeeping numbers in the nation, and because they can be used to assume another person’s identity, they are one of the three most sought after pieces of information (in addition to names and birth dates) by identity thieves

Both the U S Supreme Court and California Supreme Court issued rulings in 2007 that affect consumers (and even state employees in particular, see “Public Records Act” on page 113) and their privacy rights Federal agencies also issued final rules last year that implement consumer protection statutes. In California, lawmakers approved measures that, to highlight just a few, restrict how social security numbers are displayed in many public records; prohibit the forced human implantation of identification devices that can transmit personal information; and extend the state’s first-in-the-nation breach-notification law, which now requires that a consumer must be notified if his or her medical information has been breached.

These and numerous other state and federal laws are featured in this year’s edition of Consumer Privacy and Identity Theft. (Readers are encouraged to consult the statutory texts for more detail, and please note that all citations to the Fair Credit Reporting Act include amendments to the act contained in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 [FACTA]).

Consumers will begin to feel the impact of these new state and federal laws this year, as many went into effect on January 1, 2008.

For More Information

California State Senate Office of Research


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Privacy and identity theft statutes   (calidtheft.pdf)

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Consumer Protection   ♦   Fraud/Scam   ♦  

 

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