Two bills working their way through the Iowa Senate seek to provide Iowans more protection from identity theft. The first would allow Iowans to pay 10-dollars to a credit reporting agency and put a "freeze" on their credit report. It means no one would be able to access it.
Senator Steve Warnstadt, a Democrat from Sioux City, says 39 other states already have such a law on the books. "What the security freeze allows is for a consumer to say, ‘I don’t want people asking about my credit. I don’t have a need for additional credit,’" Warnstadt says. "…In essence it puts a firewall so that unauthorized entities do not obtain that information. Therefore, you help prevent identity theft."
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved that bill this week and it’s now on the docket for debate in the full senate. The other bill dealing with identity theft will be debated in the Senate Commerce Committee next week. It would force companies that hold customers’ personal financial information — credit card numbers, for example — to take extra steps to make sure that data doesn’t fall in the wrong hands.
"There have been instances in the state where people have had their identity stolen because of this breach and the lack of security," Warnstadt says. "What this legislation will cover is retailers, chain restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores and those businesses which are not already covered by federal legislation, particularly financial institutions."
The bill also outlines just who such information may be shared with and increases the penalty for businesses that fail to adequately safeguard the private financial information of customers.