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For Immediate Release
November 18, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN TO HOST
IDENTITY THEFT FORUM


On Monday, November 21, 2005, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. will host a forum to discuss the growing national problem of identity theft. To understand the scope of this issue, simply follow the numbers: according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, in 2005 alone data breaches have affected as many as 50 million people; it is estimated that the number of identity theft victims in the Unites States last year was 9.3 million, and the amount of those thefts was more than $52 billion. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Maryland ranks 13th in the country for complaints for identity theft. Maryland residents have been victimized through the security breaches of companies including Choicepoint and DSW (Department Shoe Warehouse.)

In July of this year, Attorney General Curran announced that his office would again seek legislation to address this problem, and that an open forum would be held to discuss how best to safeguard Maryland residents from being victimized by identity thieves. Curran has invited consumer advocates, business leaders, Maryland citizens who have been victims of identity theft, and state legislators to give their personal insights into the issue.

"The problem of identity theft, and personal information being breached, has gotten out of hand. I am extremely concerned about the poor protection of Maryland citizens’ personal information," says Attorney General Curran.

As part of his legislative package, Attorney General Curran will ask the General Assembly to enact two bills that he sought last session. Curran will propose a breach notification bill, which would require notification of consumers when their personal information has been breached so that they may take prompt action to protect themselves. The bill also would require companies to maintain adequate security for consumers’ personal information, including encryption of personally identifiable information and destruction of information in a manner that prevents its use by identity thieves. The second bill would allow consumers to instruct a credit bureau to restrict access to their credit reports, which would help prevent an identity thief from purchasing items in the victim’s name or opening new credit accounts.

IDENTITY THEFT FORUM
November 21, 2005
10:00 a.m.
200 St. Paul Place
22nd Floor Conference Center
Baltimore, Maryland 21202


   

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