December 28, 2004
Package of bills strengthens Michigan’s consumer protection efforts
LANSING – A series of new laws that will better protect Michigan citizens from the crime of identity theft has been signed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. The 11 new laws updating Michigan’s previous criminal statutes for identity theft were filed today with the Office of the Great Seal.
"As recently as 2002, Michigan ranked sixth in the nation for identity theft cases," Granholm said. "These new laws will ensure more is done at the state level to help law enforcement and prosecutors crack down on identity thieves and to help victims recover."
The legislation signed by the Governor will:
create the Identity Theft Act to make it a felony in Michigan to use personal identifying information to obtain goods and services without consent;
prohibit businesses from denying credit or public utility service to victims of identity theft and establish penalties for violations;
clarify the jurisdiction where identity theft could be prosecuted;
extend the statute of limitations for identity theft to six years after the crime was committed or the identity of the thief was established;
create the Social Security Number Privacy Act to prohibit certain uses of social security numbers, establish penalties for violations, and provide remedies;
establish the right of a victim of identity theft to obtain a police report;
list identity theft as an unlawful practice of trade or commerce;
prohibit the issuing of sales receipts that show more than the last four digits of a credit card account number;
prohibit requiring a consumer to provide a social security number as a condition for doing business;
prohibit, and create penalties for, photographing, recording, or electronically transmitting personal identifying information taken, without consent, from credit, debit, and ATM cards.
According to recent reports, victims of identity theft spend about 600 hours trying to clear their names. It can take thousands of dollars, many months, and even years to successfully clear the damage done by identity theft, Granholm said.
"Identity theft costs consumers and businesses billions of dollars each year," Granholm said. "These new laws will help us better protect consumers from this awful, invasive crime. They will shield from prying eyes sensitive personal identifying information that can be used to illegally obtain goods, services, money, employment, and medical information."
These new laws take effect on March 1, 2005. A complete list of bills in this package that were signed by the Governor is attached.
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Legislation contained in identity theft package signed by Governor Granholm:
Senate Bill 792 (PA 452), sponsored by Sen. Michael Bishop (R-Rochester), creates the Identity Theft Protection Act and defines "identity theft" as engaging in an act or conduct that attempts to use personal identifying information of another person without that person’s consent.
Senate Bill 793 (PA 453), sponsored by Sen. Gerald Van Woerkoem (R-Norton Shores), clarifies the jurisdiction in which identity theft can be prosecuted.
Senate Bill 795 (PA 454), sponsored by Sen. Nancy Cassis (R-Novi), creates the Social Security Number Privacy Act to prohibit certain uses of all or more than four sequential digits of social security numbers by persons, associations, companies, elementary or secondary public or nonpublic schools, vocational schools, colleges or universities, trade schools, and state of local governmental agencies or departments. This includes using a person’s social security number as an individual account number; printing it on any identification badge or card, membership card, permit, or license; or printing it on the outside of an envelope or package mailed or sent to an individual.
Senate Bill 798 (PA 455), sponsored by Sen. Alan Sanborn (R-Richmond), prohibits the denial of consumer credit to victims of identity theft.
Senate Bill 1384 (PA 456), sponsored by Sen. Laura Toy (R-Livonia), establishes the right of a victim of identity theft to obtain a police report. Often, victims have difficulty obtaining a report because police officers are uncertain of jurisdictional issues.
House Bill 6169 (PA 457), sponsored by Rep. William Van Regenmorter (R-Georgetown Township), establishes sentencing guidelines for the crime of identity theft.
House Bill 6172 (PA 458), sponsored by Rep. Matt Milosch (R-Lambertville), extends the statute of limitations for identity theft cases.
House Bill 6174 (PA 459), sponsored by Rep. Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), adds identity theft as an unlawful practice of trade or commerce to the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
House Bill 6177 (PA 460), sponsored by Rep. Sal Rocca (R-Sterling Heights), prohibits, and creates penalties for, photographing, recording, or electronically transmitting personal identifying information taken, without consent, from credit, debit, or ATM cards.
Senate Bill 220 (PA 461), sponsored by Sen. Valde Garcia (R-Howell), prohibits the use of more than the last four digits of a credit card account number on a sales receipt.
Senate Bill 657 (PA 462), sponsored by Sen. Cameron Brown (R-Fawn River Township), prohibits requiring a consumer to provide a social security number as a condition for doing business.