By Julian Hattem - 03/05/14 12:23 PM EST
Lawmakers aren't immune from identity theft, they said on Wednesday.
At a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on the rash of data breaches and ways to protect people’s data, lawmakers revealed that they, too, had been victims of identity theft.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), said during the hearing that she had spoken with fellow members of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee and “all four of us have had our identities stolen.”
“I would say that most Americans have had their identity stolen including myself,” she said. “And it’s very costly to law enforcement, certainly our stakeholders, our financial institutions and to individuals.”
Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) added that he and his wife learned on Tuesday that their identity had been stolen, resulting in $4,000 of fraud.
“We have to remain vigilant in our fight against these individuals and organizations,” he said. “The consequences of not being equipped for a threat could ruin the lives and threaten the security of millions of Americans.”
As many as 110 million people had their personal or financial information stolen in a massive data breach at Target last year. News that other retailers and institutions like the University of Maryland, too, had been hacked, raised concerns in Congress and led lawmakers to call for a series of new laws to protect people’s data, require companies tell people if their information may have been stolen and give more power to law enforcement agencies and regulators.
The lawmakers on Wednesday did not say whether or not their cases of identity theft were related to recent high profile breaches.
Officials from the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security told lawmakers that they could better protect consumers' information by coordinating and sharing information back and forth with companies, agencies and other institutions that are hacked.
The breaches are becoming more common, though, and William Noonan, the deputy special agent in charge of cybercrime investigations at the Homeland Security Department, said that he was no exception.
“I too fell victim to a data breach as well, where it was inconvenient for myself and my family,” he said.