New Jersey Fights Back Against Identity Theft

Helpful information about identity theft in New Jersey

New Jersey may rank in the top third nationally for identity theft, but the state has fought back by enacting one of the strongest fraud protection laws in the country.

In this article, you’ll find some helpful statistics on identity theft in New Jersey and discover why New Jersey has some of the best provisions in its identity theft legislation. We’ll also point you to the best New Jersey websites to help you prevent and recover from identity theft.

New Jersey Identity Theft Profile

The Federal Trade Commission has ranked New Jersey number 14 in the nation for identity theft. In spite of this, no major New Jersey city appeared on the FTC’s list of the top 50 U.S. cities for identity theft.

A comparison of metropolitan to rural areas shows identity theft rates in New Jersey are proportionate to population. This indicates the problem is widespread across the state rather than concentrated in cities.

Though the push to bring violent crime rates down makes news headlines, statistics show identity theft is a far greater financial problem than conventional theft in New Jersey. In 2004 New Jersey residents and businesses lost four times more money from identity theft than was lost from burglary, larceny theft and car theft combined.

New Jersey Law Gets Tough on Identity Theft

In 2005 the New Jersey legislature unanimously passed the Identity Theft Prevention Act. It was hailed, at that time, as a standard bearer for other states to follow.

The law requires companies to report security breaches to state police within six hours. The law also prohibits companies from posting, mailing, or emailing Social Security Numbers and requires them to shred personal information when it is no longer needed.

Other aspects of the law make identity theft recovery easier for New Jersey consumers.

Like several other states, the New Jersey law allows victims to place a credit freeze on credit bureau reporting, which prevents thieves from opening new credit accounts with the stolen information. But the New Jersey law broke new ground with its credit freeze “fast thaw” option.

The fast thaw allows consumers to unfreeze their credit files within 15 minutes of supplying a pre-arranged, four-digit personal identification number, rather than waiting for the three days that is standard in most other states. The measure makes it more convenient and more likely consumers will use the credit freeze option.

To help New Jersey residents and businesses understand and comply with the law, The Attorney General Office’s Division of Consumers Affairs has posted severalĀ guides to help both consumers and businesses.

Penalties for failing to comply with security freeze provisions can include damages up to $1000, as well as punitive damages, enforcement costs and attorney fees.

New Jersey Identity Theft Websites

For general information and resources on identity theft in New Jersey, visit the
official state identity theft page at:

http://www.nj.gov/identitytheft

Step by step instructions on how to recover from identity theft are published by the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice at:

http://www.njdcj.org/idtheft/id_actions.htm

And with the New Jersey State Police’s Identity Theft Victim’s Reference Guide at:

http://www.state.nj.us/lps/njsp/tech/identity.html

To learn more about identity theft and how you can keep it from happening to you, please visit the ScamBuster.org Identity Theft Information Center: