Thursday, March 03, 2005

Identity Theft and Credit, Part II

An email action alert from Consumers Union notified me of some rather interesting legislation coming to a state near you (maybe):

"Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S., ruining the credit of millions of Americans each year. Using just a few pieces of personal information, a thief can steal your identity and open new credit accounts in your name.

But in some states, legislators are fighting identity theft by proposing laws that give consumers the right to lock up their credit files with a security freeze. A security freeze lets you decide who gets to see your credit record, which prevents thieves from obtaining credit using your identity.

Act now! Lawmakers in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachuetts, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington have introduced legislation that will give you greater control over your credit record information. Help them get these bills passed! Click on your state in the green box. Click here to learn more about state bills. And if you receive a letter back from your legislator, tell us what they said."

And you can support this legislation by visiting the financial privacy website and using their email webform. Thankfully, Massachusetts is one of the states involved this round, so I was able to participate. I have no doubt this will be a national measure in the near future, unless the credit lobbyists manage to buy the republican majority as they have done before.

And are currently doing with the new Bankruptcy bill on the senate floor.

" As the U.S. Senate began considering bankruptcy legislation today, national consumer organizations called on Senators to reject the bill because it would favor creditors at the expense of Americans who have suffered genuine financial misfortune.

The bankruptcy bill (S. 256) would place numerous additional restrictions on Americans who attempt to declare either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy (see attached for more information.) It does not, however, place any restrictions on abusive lending by creditors.

“While credit card companies urge Congress to erect new bankruptcy barriers for many families, their profits are soaring,” said Travis Plunkett, Legislative Director of the Consumer Federation of America. “This bill simply doesn’t balance responsibility between families in debt trouble and the creditors whose practices have contributed to the rise in bankruptcies,” Plunkett said.

A large body of evidence..."

Please read the full article via