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Attorney General DeWine Applauds Signing of Military Identity Theft Legislation


(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today applauded the signing of legislation that establishes harsher penalties for those who commit identity fraud and theft against active-duty service members and their spouses.

House Bill 488, the veterans component of the mid-biennium budget review, includes amendments to the current identity fraud, theft, and securing writings by deception statutes to increase penalties for felons who target active-duty service members or their spouses. Currently, the felony enhancement is reserved only for victims who are over the age of 65 or disabled.

“These changes will make Ohio one of the toughest states for punishing felons who commit identity fraud against active-duty service members,” Attorney General DeWine said. “I applaud the Governor and the General Assembly for recognizing the importance of this issue. Military service members and their families sacrifice so much to protect our country, and it’s our job to do all we can to protect them.”

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, active-duty service members are exposed to the crimes of identity fraud and theft before and during deployment. While preparing for deployment, service members and their spouses often must rush to take care of outstanding issues relating to their homes, businesses, and families. During periods of deployment, service members may not be aware that their personal information has been compromised. When the service member returns home, the ramifications of these crimes can be devastating.

In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 22,000 identity fraud complaints from members of the military. Last year, military identity fraud complaints jumped in Ohio by almost 20 percent.

The legislation also creates a private right of action for all victims of identity fraud that allows them to pursue civil lawsuits against offenders. The amendment enables victims to potentially recover up to $5,000 for each violation from the offender, or three times the amount of the actual damages, whichever is greater.

State Representatives Mike Dovilla, Al Landis, and Terry Blair partnered with the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section (Economic Crimes Unit and Identity Theft Unit) in the development of this legislation.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section helps all Ohioans with consumer complaints and identity theft issues. Contact 800-282-0515 or visit


Media Contacts

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Kate Hanson: 614-466-3840

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