As of July 1, thanks to our local legislature, residents of Colorado can inform the credit reporting companies that they want their credit "frozen". This means no one can check your credit record or borrow money in your name without you explicitly allowing it.
Credit card companies, merchants, credit bureaus and other businesses do not adequately safeguard consumers' private financial information, making it relatively easy for thieves to steal this data and use it to take out new credit or to rack up charges on existing accounts.
[...] The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that it took the average victim of identity theft in 2004 600 hours and an average of $1,495 to clear their name; cases average two to four years to be resolved. This is up from 175 hours and $808 in out-of-pocket expenses in 2000. (CoPIRG)
As I've noted before, Congress has been mulling similar legislation but hasn't passed anything due to industry opposition. In fact, the industry has been lobbying Congress to prohibit states from passing these laws.