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March 16, 2006

Identity Theft Legislation Clears Committee

Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) released the following statement after the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 3997, the Financial Data Protection Act, by a vote of 48-17. Pryce is the lead cosponsor of this legislation to combat identity theft.

"Any consumer concerned with the protection of their personal and financial information should be elated to see this bill move forward," said Pryce, the fourth-ranking member of the Committee. "The breadth of the identity theft problem grows daily, and more and more Americans are discovering that through no fault of their own, their financial futures have been put in harm’s way.”

“Data security is the most important consumer protection issue currently facing our nation. H.R. 3997 will give consumers peace of mind, identity thieves reason to think twice before pilfering people's private information, and businesses a consistent understanding of their legal responsibilities on how data is to be handled, and what is expected of them in the event of a data breach.”

H.R. 3997, the Financial Data Protection Act

H.R. 3997 would expand the data safeguards requirements under current law to establish uniform standards for all businesses that possess or maintain sensitive financial account or identity information about consumers, including:

• Data Protection: All businesses are required to maintain reasonable policies and procedures to protect the security and confidentiality of their sensitive financial personal information relating to any consumer.

• Investigation: Businesses are required to immediately investigate any information reasonably indicating that a data security breach may have occurred.

• Notification: If the potential breach of data security may result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any consumer, then the business is required to notify law enforcement, appropriate regulator(s), and other businesses in the transaction chain. If the potential breach may result in financial fraud against consumers causing substantial harm or inconvenience, then the consumers must be notified through a uniform mailing.

• Financial Fraud Mitigation: Consumer notification involving sensitive financial identity information must include an offer of free credit file monitoring for the consumer.

• Uniformity: The legislation extends data protection standards across all business sectors.