Late last week, ABC4 reported that “Identity Theft on the rise in Utah“. A few portions caught my attention. First:
“It’s like they know our seniors. My mother in law is 91, she has been targeted many times,” said one woman.
It may well be because they do know our seniors, and Utah government, specifically the Lieutenant Governor’s office may well be providing crucial information for the scammers to target seniors. The Lt. Governor’s office makes the entire Utah voter registry publicly available to those willing to pay for it. The list includes name, address, phone number and…date of birth. With this list, all scammers need to do is filter out the elderly (using date of birth) and they have a rapidly, refined target list.
Surely, the Lt. Governor would take action? Quite the opposite: this year a bill was amended to protect voter date of birth from release. The Lt. Governor threw a hissy fit and including an offensive political charade. Then the Senate took revenge on the Representative who amended the bill. Additionally, the Utah Republican and Democrat Parties also added their spin (they’ve been consistent opponents for marketing reasons). They succeeded in getting the House to capitulate and remove the amendment.
Next, another bill will allow you to choose to make your date of birth private (HB304S1). Yet again, as it made progress (despite Republican and Democrat Party pressure), the Lt. Governor’s office struck again, attaching a large fiscal note to the bill in an effort to kill it. Apparently, the money from voter registry sales and Party politics take precedence over our seniors, and voters in general*.
Immediately contact your Representative and Senator and politely, but firmly, request that they support HB304S1.
On to the second point of interest:
…a new chilling trend is child identity theft…what we realize is it comes at the worst possible moment. 18 they want to go to school, all of a sudden they find out their credit it ruined,” said Kirk Torgensen, Chief Attorney at the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
I’ve tracked identity theft for years. This year, the legislature, again, had the chance to bolster the E-Verify law to significantly prevent employment-related child identity theft. Pressure to stop the legislation included the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Sutherland Institute, and the LDS Church Public Affairs. Thus, rather than protection, they opted for deception.
*Note: The released sensitive information on voter registration increases identity theft risk for all voters. Also be aware: victims of abuse (especially with restraining orders) and stalking victims must also disclose their personal information in order to vote. This raises a personal safety concern for those individuals. This problem came up too late to address but absolutely must be remedied by the next session.