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Identity Theft Law Protects Both Victims and Accused

There has been a lot of publicity around identity theft. The federal government has reported that identity theft is the fastest growing financial crime in the United States, with an identity theft occurring every 79 seconds. Partially in response to trends like this, New Jersey has what is believed to be the strongest identity theft protection laws in the U.S.

The law, called the Identity Theft Protection Act, includes provisions to prevent identity theft. Many of these provisions also protect persons charged with identity theft with stipulations such as:

•· The police must take a full report from people claiming they were victims of identity theft.

•· Public entities, such as businesses, must destroy records that contain personal information when the files are purged.

•· Business and public entities must report any breach of computerized records if the public or private organization believes that personal information was accessed by someone other than authorized personnel.

•· A public or private entity is prohibited from posting or displaying any person's social security number.

Such requirements mean that it is more difficult to convict someone of identity theft and related matters if public agencies fail to comply. For example, if the police do not take a report from the alleged victim, it will be more difficult to build a case against the accused.

Source:, "Take Steps to Guard Your Identity," by Joseph R. Novick, Feb. 3, 2012.

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