Identity theft victims would have easier path to restoring good name under N.J. plan

(Agnormark/Bigstock)

(Agnormark/Bigstock)

A measure passed by the New Jersey Assembly could provide some relief for victims of identity theft.

Identity theft is on the rise, said Assemblyman Herb Conaway, and many victims are elderly.

“People will call up, they’ll pretend to be a family member, they’ll pretend to have other information,” he said. “The unwitting elderly person gives over information that’s critical. That’s then used to make loans. That then destroys your financial health.

“We need to do all we can to help people recover from that kind of serious crime.”

Conaway, D-Camden, said the legislation he sponsored would allow victims to apply for an identity theft passport card from the New Jersey attorney general’s office.

The document — which would have the victim’s name and photograph — would assist in clearing up fraudulent charges made to  financial accounts and help prevent them from being arrested for offenses committed by the identity thief, he said.

“By having your identity sort of certified by the attorney general, it allows you to try to restore your financial life and your reputation,” Conaway said.

No version of the legislation has been introduced in the state Senate, and there’s no indication whether Gov. Chris  Christie might sign it if it reaches his desk.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.