The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Doyle speaks on identity theft

The formation of the Office of Privacy Protection, announced April 13 by Gov. Jim Doyle in Davies Center, will streamline the process identity theft victims need to go through to restore their credit history.

“Identity theft has exploded on us in recent years and it is important that we in the state of Wisconsin step up and make sure that we have the legal structure in place to protect our citizens,” Doyle said.

The office will help local, state and federal law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute identity crimes, as well as help victims of identity theft repair his or her reputation.

Thirty-two percent of victims of identity theft are between the ages of 18 and 29.

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Doyle said younger people, particularly college students, are put at risk because of a generational shift in online shopping.

“Students are really at risk of starting off with a stolen identity . and in a hole that can take them forever to get out of,” he said.

Student Senate Vice President Chris Nielson said this does affect students and Senate will plan to write a resolution in favor of the office.

“It’s good that we are starting to get an organization . to distribute information to people outside of those who work on these issues,” Nielson said.

Last year the state of Wisconsin recorded 250,000 cases of identity theft, a 700 percent increase from the year before.

Doyle also estimated that 100,000 cases in our state went unreported last year.

The problem is affecting Wisconsin businesses and families, Doyle said, and the state is losing about $570 million annually because of identity theft.

The governor said he will launch a “tough crack down” on identity theft in Wisconsin, including a broad legislative agenda that will strengthen enforcement, educate the public, help identity theft victims and toughen penalties, supporting a measure that would increase the crime to a Class E felony.

The maximum penalty carries a sentence of 15 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. He would also like the penalty for identity theft against businesses to mirror the punishment for crimes committed against individuals.

“Many people have absolutely no idea that their date of birth, Social Security number and credit card information have been compromised, so they don’t take steps to protect themselves, their businesses or their family’s finances,” Doyle said. “They don’t even know it is happening to them.”

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Doyle speaks on identity theft