Also Keeps Personal Info Private
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a series of bills to better protect New Yorkers’ privacy and personal information, and help combat consumer scams.
The new laws include measures to prohibit the hiring of inmates for any job that would give them access to the Social Security numbers of other people, to limit instances where entities are allowed to request New Yorkers’ Social Security numbers and to improve consumer regulations to prohibit prize award schemes that require a customer to make a pay-per-call service phone call.
“New Yorkers deserve the strongest protections possible to avoid scams and schemes that can be extremely costly and damaging,” Cuomo said last Tuesday, Aug. 14. “The bills signed today will ensure that New Yorkers’ personal information is kept private, and will also help protect our residents from falling victim to enticing pay-per-call prize schemes. I thank the bill sponsors for their and hard work on these pieces of legislation.”
The first new law (A.8375- A/S.7594.A) prohibits the hiring of inmates in correctional facilities for any job that would give them access to, or involves them in, the collecting or processing of Social Security numbers of other individuals.
The law takes effect in 90 days.
Another new law (A.8992-A/ S.6608-A) strengthens existing protections to prohibit certain entities from requiring a person to disclose his or her Social Security number (SSN) for any purpose, and from refusing to provide any service based on an individual’s refusal to disclose his or her number.
Current law prohibits persons and entities from intentionally making available to the public an individual’s SSN, including printing an individual’s SSN on a card or tag required for the individual to access products or services, requiring a person to provide his or her SSN over the Internet except through a secure connection, and printing a person’s SSN on the outside of materials being mailed to a person.
The law signed last Tuesday will limit the ability of entities to collect individuals’ SSNs in the first place. The law’s provisions are subject to multiple exceptions, including use of SSNs for government requirements, use for internal verification or fraud investigation, use related to banking and credit-related activities, use in connection with employment, insurance or tax purposes, and other instances.
The law takes effect in 120 days.
Finally, the third new law (A.4365-A /S.7595) prohibits prize award schemes that require a customer to make a phone call to claim the prize and the charge for the call is greater than rates authorized by current statute.
The law is designed to protect New Yorkers from prize award schemes where the customer is told that he or she may be the winner, or has been selected to win a prize or contest, but is required to make a costly phone call to claim the potential prize.
So-called “900” numbers are a well-known type of pay-per-call service, but such a service can be any phone number where the caller is assessed a charge for completing the call and/or is assessed a charge based on the length of the call such as a perminute charge.
The law takes effect in 30 days.