Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing.
Identity theft is a serious issue that affects not only individuals, but our economy as a whole. As the fastest growing crime in America, it is not neatly confined to one state or county. And, thatís the problem with identity theft. People from every corner of the country can and do become victims of this invasive crime.
Even small states like Wyoming are adversely affected. Although there are only 493,000 people in Wyoming, we have the same rate of identity theft per capita as anywhere else in the country. Thatís why we have to approach this issue from a holistic perspective. We have to look at prevention, enforcement and assistance to victims who are recovering from identity theft.
Last year, I cosponsored a bill with Senator Cantwell that focused on the recovery part of the issue. Our bill would have made it easier for victims to get the information they need to clear their good name. Senator Gramm and I worked with Senator Cantwell for months to find a balance between the needs of consumers and the needs of small businesses, banks, and other credit agencies.
Our bill included key provisions that would have allowed victims to work with businesses to obtain false records and block false information on credit reports. This is critical for somebody who is trying to put his or her life back together after the trauma of identity theft.
I am encouraged by the interest my colleagues have shown here today. There are a number of bills out there that I think we need to consider in Congress before this crime hurts the hundreds of thousands of working people and families that are expected to become victims this year.
I am confident we can make headway on this issue during the debate on reauthorization of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and I thank the Chairman for addressing this issue today.