Identity theft is the number one white collar crime in America and is poised to replace drug trafficking as the number one crime committed in America. Over fifteen million persons were victims of identity theft last year, and those victims spent an average of $19,254 and 330 hours repairing damage to their credit and good name. The overall cost of identity theft to the US economy in 2005 was over $56.6 billion.
With the expansion of the Internet and the continuation of the information era, it is all too easy for a consumer to lose control of their personal information and how that information is safeguarded. Identity thieves tend to target those most vulnerable--senior citizens and family members. During my time as Arkansas Attorney General, I saw firsthand the impact of identity theft on ordinary Arkansans and worked hard to ensure Arkansans understood how to guard their information.
As long as identity theft remains a threat to Arkansans, I will work in the Senate to enact legislation I have cosponsored that requires businesses and government to do a better job safeguarding consumers' personal financial information and notifying them in case of a breach of information that could result in identity theft. I have also strongly supported legislation that was signed into law increasing penalties for committing identity theft.
In addition to combating identity theft at the source through safeguards and notification, I believe consumers must also be given the tools to protect themselves from identity theft. That's why I proposed the first national legislation to allow consumers to "freeze" their credit to prevent criminals from opening a new line of credit in someone else's name.