Rep. Greg Macpherson, D-Lake Oswego, carried legislation to passage in the Oregon House of Representatives Monday, creating a new weapon against identity theft.
Senate Bill 464 passed the House by a vote of 52 to 0.
Modern-day thieves, Macpherson said, are less likely to carry guns into the local bank than they are to steal mail or a wallet when no one's looking in hopes of learning the victim's identity - a name, an address, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and most troublesome, the Social Security number.
By assuming that identity, they use the victim's credit to get goods and cash.
'In the process they turn the victim's life upside down,' said Macpherson. 'Typical victims of identity theft spend 600 hours and $1,400 restoring their credit. During this time the victim may be denied credit when it's really needed.'
SB 464 gives law enforcement an additional weapon in the ongoing battle with identity thieves. It creates a Class B felony of aggravated identity theft. Identity theft is already a Class C felony. SB 464 creates an aggravated version of the crime, with a stiffer penalty.
Aggravated identity theft applies to someone who commits identity theft 10 or more times in 180 days, who commits identity theft of an amount more than $10,000 in a 180-day period, or who commits identity theft and possesses 10 or more pieces of personal identification from 10 or more different victims.
'SB 464 will not, by itself, solve the problem of identity theft,' Macpherson noted. 'But it will assist law enforcement in protecting Oregonians from the cost, the effort, and the anxiety of having to restore their good name.'
SB 464 will now go to Gov. Ted Kulongoski for his signature.