New I.D. theft law aims to protect disabled

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 11-Nov-2010

Legislation to increase identity protection for vulnerable individuals receiving in-home help became law on Nov. 1. Sponsors of the measure were- state Rep. Anastasia A. Pittman, an Oklahoma City Democrat, and state Sen. Brian Crain, a Tulsa Republican.

House Bill 3323, by Pittman, prohibits the state Department of Human Services or the Department of Developmental Disabilities Service Division (DDSD) from allowing a service recipient’s Social Security number to be maintained in a “home record.”  HB 3323 received unanimous bipartisan support when approved last session.

The measure is known as “Kelley’s Law” in honor of a DDSD service recipient who experienced identity theft when a Habilitation Training Services staff person used information obtained from a home record to acquire lines of credit in the service recipient’s name.

“Perpetrators of identity theft subject these incapacitated and helpless victims to great financial damage. It can sometimes take months or years for individuals or their caretakers to even know they have fallen prey to identity theft,” said Pittman.  “This law should reduce and hopefully stop the number of thefts by removing individuals’ Social Security numbers from easy access.”

“I extremely appreciate all the efforts of legislators from both parties. I also want to thank DHS Director Howard Hendricks for all his help with Kelley’s law,” said Robin Stewart, Kelley’s mother.

“We need more laws like this one; it’s just the tip of the iceberg. And we need to look at all services and programs provided to people with disabilities to protect them from suffering from identity theft, exploitation and abuse. This is a huge step in the right direction, one that makes me happy, but I would like to see other laws to provide a safety net for the whole community,” Stewart added.

Pittman said until Kelley’s law, the state was providing easy access for criminals to steal the Social Security numbers of the very people we should be protecting the most.

“I am proud to have authored a non-partisan law to prevent this horrific crime. I plan to look into more ways to better protect our vulnerable citizens,” said Rep. Pittman.

Sen. Crain commented: “This makes huge strides in the effort to protect our most vulnerable citizens from being targeted by criminals. This fight is ongoing, but I plan to be there every step of the way to ensure the safety of all Oklahomans.”