The Iowa Senate has unanimously approved two bills designed to protect Iowans from thieves who steal personal information like credit card numbers or birthdates and Social Security numbers to get credit. The first bill would allow Iowans to tell credit rating agencies not to release their credit scores or other data to anyone.
Senator Steve Warnstadt, a Democrat from Sioux City, says people sometimes ask for those reports just to get at the data that will help them commit identity theft. "The average consumer spends about 175 hours and $808 to remedy identity theft," Warnstadt says. "Security freeze legislation is an attempt to help consumers prevent those costs."
The other bill requires Iowa businesses that maintain confidential account numbers to ensure they have security measures in place and notify customers quickly if that security system is tapped from the outside. "This is not just a make-believe issue. This is not just an issue that occurs elsewhere. This is an issue that has happened in my hometown and I suspect the hometowns of many of your," Warnstadt. "…This is going to put some teeth in, some personal protections for citizens and help prevent identity theft."
Senator Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, says the two bills are about "empowering" consumers. "Identity theft is an important issue to Iowans and they need to know that we care about this issue here in the Iowa Senate," Danielson says.
The bills now go before the Iowa House for consideration.