FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2015
Contact: Jane Margesson
AARP Maine Communications Director
email@example.com or (207) 776-6301
AARP Maine Applauds Legislature’s Override of Governor’s Veto of Identity Theft Protection Legislation
PORTLAND: Today AARP Maine, Maine Council on Aging and financial advocates applaud the Maine legislature’s override of Governor Paul LePage’s veto of LD 382 which, once enacted, provides free protection against identity theft for Mainers. The Governor vetoed An Act to Amend the Allowable Security Freeze Fees Charged by a Consumer Reporting Agency earlier this week, but the legislature swiftly counteracted.
“AARP Maine applauds the legislature for overriding the Governor’s veto in support of this strong legislation to help Mainers safeguard their credit reports,” said Rich Livingston, AARP Maine Volunteer State President. “Identity theft can have long-term devastating consequences. Through bi-partisan and overwhelming support for both the bill and the veto override, the Maine legislature has shown that protecting consumers’ financial security is a top priority, as it should be.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2013 alone there were more than 500 identity theft complaints in Maine.
Thanks to the veto override, the current fees to place or remove a security freeze on credit reports are now eliminated. Because a security freeze safeguards a person’s credit report, it is one of the most effective ways to protect consumers from identity theft. Without access to this sensitive information, an identity thief is unable to obtain credit in that person’s name, thereby greatly minimizing the potential damage from the theft. Once the freeze is in place, the consumer has control over who can receive their credit report. Maine consumers are able to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports as needed through a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) at no cost.
In the Insurance and Financial Services Committee (IFS), the bill was supported by the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, the Attorney General, Maine Identity Services, LLC, The Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance, University Credit Union, New England Credit Consultants, Lincoln County TRIAD, Maine Council on Aging, and AARP Maine. The bill received unanimous and bipartisan legislative support by the House and Senate. There was no opposition.
“This session, legislative leaders on both sides of the isle have come together to work collaboratively to help Maine seniors stay safe and age in place,” said Jess Maurer, Co-Chair of the Maine Council on Aging. “Their overwhelming support for overriding the Governor’s veto of a bill that will protect the economic security of older adults demonstrates their commitment to keep partisan politics out of issues which critically impact the needs of our older citizens.”
“Maine is now one of only 3 states in the nation to offer this credit protection for free,” said Livingston. “Particularly during the last few years, Americans have been subjected to potentially devastating identity theft and personal security breaches. The enactment of LD 382 could not come at a better time and we thank bill sponsor Senator Rod Whittemore and legislative leadership for their support of this important legislation.”
In addition to ensuring that all Mainers can protect their identity at no cost, LD 382 provides protection to Maine's businesses and financial institutions which have to suffer the financial losses caused by identity theft. According to the Maine Crime Victimization Report, identity theft is the most frequently committed crime in Maine. Maine Identity Services, LLC, estimates that recent breaches of large retailers have affected almost 750,000 Mainers, or 57% of our population.
Jane Carpenter, founder of Maine Identity Services, LLC, whose committee testimony supported the security freeze being free for all Mainers, expressed gratitude to AARP Maine for their leadership in creating the new law. "More than half of our state's population has been affected by data breaches and is at risk to become victims of identity theft. Businesses - small businesses in particular - shoulder $54 billion in costs from identity theft each year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and we know that security freezes can help stop identity theft. This new law removes financial barriers for placing a security freeze so that individuals, children and Maine's 33,000 small businesses and financial institutions can hopefully avoid the costs of fraudulent transactions from identity theft. And it does so at no additional cost to taxpayers or to government."
“This new law positions Maine as a national leader in proactive protection from identity theft,” said Livingston. “During an era of unprecedented data breaches such as the recent cases with Anthem, Home Depot and others, it is important for Mainers to know that the legislature recognized the need for protecting Mainer’s financial security through this important measure.”
AARP Maine is working closely with organizations, law enforcement, state agencies and community leaders to combat fraud in Maine. The AARP Fraud Watch Network, a national initiative, arms Americans with the tools they need to spot and avoid fraud and scams so they can protect themselves and their families Anyone, of any age, can access these resources at no cost. AARP Maine is hosting a “Scam Jam” at the Augusta Civic Center on June 11 th featuring Attorney General Janet Mills as the keynote speaker and workshops conducted by representatives from the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection and the Office of Securities. Registration is required.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org ; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org .
The mission of the Maine Council on Aging (MCOA) is to build a strong, multidisciplinary network that represents the entire aging continuum that works to improve the lives of older adults in Maine, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, to act as a voice for older adults and organizations that serve them, and to promote the safety, independence and well-being of older adults. Learn more at http://mainecouncilonaging.org .