Reps. Carney & Winburn Help to Guard Citizens from Identity Theft

State Reps. John Carney and Roland Winburn announced today that they will be introducing new comprehensive legislation to address the growing threat of online identity theft.  According to recent reports by the Columbus Dispatch there are a growing number of identity thefts due to breached information from computer hacking.

“Cyber fraud is a growing problem in our communities all across the state and around the nation.  Criminals continue to pursue new ways to take advantage of citizens at every turn, and doing so via the internet is becoming their method of choice,” said Rep. Carney.  “We must meet this problem head on and do all we can to protect people from these serious crimes which can jeopardize a person’s credit, income, and personal safety.  It is time we start standing up for the average citizen and do everything in our power to keep people from falling prey to online hackers and criminals.”

Technology has left consumers increasingly at risk for identity theft which is scarring the credit scores of thousands of Ohioans, many of whom are often completely unaware they have become victims until they are unable to obtain a car loan or mortgage. Children are also becoming greater targets of identity theft, many having hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in their names and even mortgages by the time they are age 18.

“This legislation is desperately needed.  Too often we hear stories of individuals falling victim to cyber crimes without realizing it until it is far too late for them to recover their assets or regain their piece of mind.  The legislation we have proposed would hold businesses and institutions accountable by requiring them to notify individuals of any security breach of their online databases that could comprise the safety of an individual’s personal information.  Agencies, corporations, and businesses should have a moral and legal obligation to inform people when their private information is in danger,” said Rep. Winburn.

Reps. Carney and Winburn will introduce legislation that would specifically require state agencies, businesses, and institutions to report any breach in the security of a computerized database that includes personal information to the Ohio Attorney General if any Ohio resident’s personal information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, accessed and acquired by an unauthorized person.  It also requires that the report be filed no later than 40 days following the discovery of the breach in the security system. The Ohio Attorney General’s office would be required to create a public online searchable database which would disclose all cases regarding all state agencies, agencies of political subdivisions, and persons who have reported a breach of their security system containing individual’s personal information.

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