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Identity theft victims could seek compensation

September 10, 2009 by WLKM 

Identity theft victims will be able to seek compensation for the time and effort it takes to clean up damaged credit history under legislation approved Wednesday (September 9th) by lawmakers, state Rep. Matt Lori announced.

The bipartisan package of identity theft protection bills also updates Michigan law by better defining what constitutes identity theft and increasing penalties.  House Bill 4737, sponsored by Lori, makes victims of identity theft eligible for restitution from the Michigan Crime Victim Compensation Fund.  This is the first bill sponsored by Lori to be approved by the House.

“Identify theft is becoming an increasingly common crime and increasingly harder to prevent, especially as more business is conducted online,” said Lori, R-Constantine.  “This legislation will provide residents greater protection against identity theft and give prosecutors the tools they need to go after these criminals.”

Lori noted that victims of identity theft must often spend years trying to fully restore their credit history and clear their name.

“It often takes victims of identity theft years to clear their credit history – a frustrating, expensive and time-consuming hassle.  These bills give victims the opportunity to seek restitution for their effort,” Lori said.

In addition to increasing penalties and helping victims recover, the legislation also reduces the risk of identity theft by establishing procedures for companies to properly destroy personal data.

The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

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