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Lawmaker proposes bills to help protect your identity

A Maine lawmaker has two aggressive new proposals she says will better protect you, your money and your identity.

PORTLAND (WGME) -- A Maine lawmaker has two aggressive new proposals she says will better protect you, your money and your identity.

Identity theft experts in Maine say these two bills are part of a trend to limit the spread of social security numbers.

Those numbers are often the big piece needed to get credit and other benefits in someone else's name.

In fact, a new report says 15 million people in the United States were identity theft victims last year.

One bill at the State House has to do with your children.

It would require schools that ask for a social security number to tell parents how it will be used.

It also requires schools provide parents with a chance to opt out of providing that number.

Another bill prohibits an employer from asking for a social security number on a job application.

The proposal does not apply to information needed for a background check or after an employee is hired.

Representative Tina Riley is sponsoring both bills.

“The more information that's contained on any one record, the more damaging it is if that record gets out,” Riley said. “Every little step we take helps. People who get hit with identity theft get hurt really badly. It takes a long time and it's very expensive to recover from it.”

Maine Identity Services is supporting both bills.

We asked the Maine School Management Association and a group representing human resource managers in southern Maine where they stand, but we didn't hear back.

Public hearings on these bills are set for Wednesday morning in Augusta.

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