The Honorable Zell Miller United States Senator 257 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Miller:
I am writing to encourage you to support Senate Bill 145, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act. As you may know, identity theft is the fastest growing consumer crime in the country. From 2001 to 2002, the number of identity theft complaints registered with the Federal Trade Commission ( the FTC) nearly doubled from 86,000 to 162,000. The Department of Justice estimates that each year 700,000 people in the United States may be victims of identity theft. According to the FTC, Georgia is ranked thirteenth nationwide based on the number of identity theft complaints.
As early as 1998, I recognized the significance of this epidemic and pushed through to passage Georgia’s first ever Identity Theft Statute. At that time, we were just the third state in the country to make identity theft a crime. We continue to be a national leader in this area and currently our statute may be the toughest in the nation.
In Georgia, we didn’t stop with a tough new law. The Attorney General’s office is also coordinating the Stop Identity Theft Network (the Network). The Network is a public/private partnership that brings together top level public officials from federal, state and local governments, private corporations, credit-reporting agencies and financial institutions to fight the disastrous effects of identity theft in our state. We have created a unique website, www.stopidentitytheft.org, that supports businesses, law enforcement and victims because each group plays a different role in the fight against identity theft. In partnership with the National White Collar Crime Center, the website also provides a one-stop centralized complaint center so victims do not have to file complaints with numerous law enforcement agencies. Currently, our website is the only one of its kind in the country.
We can all be proud of the leadership Georgia has shown in fighting this problem at the state level. Your support of Senate Bill 145 could result in another tool at the national level to battle what is truly a national epidemic. Thank you for helping to make our state and this nation a safer place. Should you have any questions regarding our efforts in Georgia to fight identity theft, please feel free to call me.
THURBERT E. BAKER Attorney General