Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed legislation that requires businesses and government agencies to promptly notify consumers when private information such as Social Security and driver’s license numbers have been lost or stolen.
The law also allows residents to place a “security freeze” on their consumer credit reports to prevent identity thieves from fraudulently creating new accounts in their names.
It also establishes rules for the disposal of old records containing personal information. Under those rules, state officials would be required to delete the first few digits of Social Security numbers when handling documents involving personal information if federal authorities don’t require the full number.
The law also requires companies and state agencies to destroy documents that contain personal information.
“The consequences of identity theft can be devastating and far-reaching for victims,” Patrick said in a statement. “This law recognizes the new risks facing consumers today and puts a number of critical safeguards in place to help the people of Massachusetts protect their credit and their good names.”
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