What Governor Linda Lingle said in a May 25, 2006 press release on her signing six identity theft bills:
“These bills offer new ways to protect consumers from the fastest growing crime across the nation. My administration is proud to announce that Hawai’i will now have some of the most comprehensive laws in place to protect consumers from identity theft.”
What she didn’t say:
Though one of the protections Lingle signed—allowing identity theft victims to place a “security freeze” on your credit report—is a good step (all consumers should have this option), the “fastest growing crime” line seems to be pure hype. The release sources such a claim to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but recent press reports in the Associated Press, Money magazine and Slate.com indicate the FTC data may be overblown, with actual cases of someone of one person using another’s name to get credit still quite rare. “But while it’s certainly important to be vigilant against this potentially devastating crime, it also appears identity theft is too broadly defined and often misunderstood,” wrote the AP’s Brian Bergstein on Nov. 13, 2005.