Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the nation. Every week a new security breach of consumers’ sensitive personal information exposes thousands, if not millions, of Americans to identity theft. These breaches are mostly the result of sloppy business practices by large corporations and government entities, and fuel the problem of identity theft. Since the beginning of 2005 over a dozen major security breaches by national and Massachusetts based institutions have put Massachusetts residents at serious risk of identity theft. As a result of these security breaches, the personal information of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Massachusetts residents was exposed an estimated 1.8 million times.
To date, thirty-six states have passed laws to reduce the incidence of identity theft and protect consumers by creating Security Breach Notification requirements and Credit Report Security Freeze provisions. While many have looked to Congress for action, identity theft protections remain largely a state initiative. Sadly, Massachusetts has failed to act when it comes to protecting its residents from identity theft. This paper lists the number of security breaches that have directly affected Massachusetts consumers and illustrates the extent to which Massachusetts lags behind most states in adopting basic identity theft protections.