Lisa Madigan wants to strengthen laws to prevent identity theft

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan speaks during a news conference on Aug. 21, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

What gets Illinois residents the most steamed?

For those angry enough to put pen to paper and write to the Illinois attorney general’s office, the top concern in 2014 was consumer debt, followed by worries about identity theft.

It’s the seventh year in a row that Lisa Madigan’s office has had identity theft in the top 10 list of complaints, she told reporters at a news conference downtown Monday.

“I don’t think that’s a surprise considering the fact that 2014 has been called the Year of the Breach,” Madigan said.

Some 3,600 people wrote with complaints about consumer debt, which includes such things as mortgage lending, debt collections and credit cards. About 2,600 wrote with complaints about identity theft, Madigan’s office said. Others in the top 10 list include complaints about wireless services, home improvement and pyramid schemes, among others.

Madigan’s office Monday unveiled a bill aimed at strengthening an existing state law dealing with data security. Among other things, the original 2005 state law required business and agencies suffering data breaches to notify Illinois residents if the breach included Social Security, driver’s license numbers or financial account information.

Now, with people putting so much more personal information online, it’s time the state law was updated, Madigan said.

The beefed-up bill would expand notification to also include medical information and “geo location” information, among other things.

Companies and other entities collecting “sensitive” information would now be required to put in place “reasonable security measures to safeguard” that data, Madigan’s office said.

“We have found, time and again, that there are entities — a lot of the corporations — that are really failing to put in place, failing to maintain basic security of the information they are obtaining,” Madigan said.

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