From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2003
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Committee Approves Fraser Legislation Protecting From Identity Fraud

AUSTIN -- The Senate Committee on Business and Commerce today approved legislation authored by Senator Troy Fraser designed to protect consumers from identity fraud by limiting the amount of information on credit card receipts.

The committee gave unanimous approval to Senate Bill 235, which would prohibit businesses from printing the full credit card account number on customers' receipts. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

"Stealing a credit card number is the easiest way for crooks to turn someone's financial world upside down through identify fraud," Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, said. "Finding a credit card receipt that someone left behind at a restaurant, an ATM or at the gas pump is a pretty easy target for thieves."

Fraser said as recently as 2001, more than 600,000 annually were the victims of identity fraud, accounting for nearly 42 percent of all consumer fraud complaints nationally, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Under the bill, a printed receipt could not contain the credit card's expiration date or more than four digits of the account number. New cash registers or other machines installed after August 31, 2003 must be in compliance by August 31, 2004; existing machines must be in compliance before December 31, 2005.

"We want to give businesses, especially small businesses, enough time to budget for the conversion without it becoming a financial difficulty for them," Fraser said. "But if they don't comply once the deadline arrives, they could be fined up to $500 a month."

If approved by the Legislature, Texas would join a growing number of states to address the problem of identity fraud through stolen credit card account numbers. At least eight other states have passed similar measures. In addition, beginning in 2007, VISA will no longer allow access to their network if the cash register or credit card machine does not truncate the card number on the receipt.