The State Senate Commerce Committee of New Jersey has proposed a new bill that will force businesses to help prevent consumers' debit card information from landing in the wrong hands.
The bill will prohibit business merchants from printing debit card account numbers and expiration dates on all sales receipts, including those the merchant retains for their records. The Assembly voted unanimously to pass the proposed bill and it will now be sent to the Senate for consideration. If the bill passes, merchants could face fines up to $1,000 for non-compliance, the AP reports.
"In this day and age, when identity theft is proving all too common, there's no reason why a consumer's credit or debit card number should ever be made available to others," bill sponsor Assemblyman Matthew Milam told the AP.
A similar rule already exists for credit card purchases, which prohibits merchants from printing more than the last five digits of the card number or expiration date.
"This is a straightforward consumer protection measure," bill sponsor Annette Quijano told the AP. "We provide this protection for credit cards, we should provide it for debit cards," said Quijano.
With 11 million cases of identity theft reported last year, federal and state governments are implementing measures to protect consumer account numbers and personal information. The House of Representatives recently proposed a law that will crack down on caller ID spoofing, a practice criminals use to modify the name and number Americans see on their caller ID screens, making it appear to be legitimate. Criminals then impersonate banking institutions or credit lenders and manipulate the victim into releasing personal information, such as Social Security or bank account numbers.
The Better Business Bureau has recently put out reports advising Americans of ways to better protect their debit and credit card information. Other businesses are sponsoring "shredding" days, inviting local citizens to bring statements that contain personal information to their facilities for safe and proper disposal.
Criminals who obtain an individual's debit card number and expiration date could cause severe financial damage to their victims' finances and credit score before they even realize their information was stolen. Consumers should examine their bank statements for any inaccuracies and immediately report suspicious or unrecognized transactions.