Lawmakers discuss identity theft prevention

A Senate panel was urged Tuesday to support an Assembly-approved plan that would help prevent identity theft by making less credit card information available on printed receipts.

AB389 would prohibit printing more than the last five digits of credit card numbers and expiration dates on copies of customer and business receipts, Senate Judiciary Committee members were told.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, chief sponsor of AB389, displayed a receipt listing a complete credit card number and expiration date along with the cardholder's full name, saying the amount of information was "alarming."

"I thought this was frightening on a lot of levels," Parnell said. "As a consumer, I just might toss it in a trash can after dinner not realizing that it had all of that personal identification information on it, but what I found just as troubling was that businesses had access somewhere to that kind of information on multiple individuals."

The measure would impose a fine of $500 the first time businesses issued noncompliant receipts and an additional $1,000 each week that the situation isn't corrected.

"I think the important part of this is that we have to be firm. We can't just say we're going to fine you $100," Parnell said.

After the hearing, Parnell said that receipts that make such information readily available put large numbers of people at risk for identity theft.

"It's a lot more prevalent that anybody would guess, but until you really zero in on those receipts, it doesn't really register that that information is sitting there for anybody to access," she said.

The bill also would hold vendors who sell or lease cash registers or similar machines liable if their equipment isn't updated to print proper receipts. This protects smaller businesses who can't afford new machines from being penalized, said Lea Tauchen of the Retail Association of Nevada.

"Because of cost restraints, smaller businesses may purchase or lease old equipment that they can't do anything about, and they are stuck with the equipment they have." Tauchen said after the hearing, adding that retailers would have until the end of the year to update their equipment.

Judiciary Chairman Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, said the bill needed language that would clarify that businesses owners would be penalized for noncompliant receipts, rather than employees who swipe credit cards or operate cash registers.


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