Social Security Numbers in the Private Sector: Comments to the FTC


Consumers often are coerced into providing an SSN as a means of authentication or verification, where appropriate authentication could be achieved through other means.  Our PRC consumer hotline receives numerous calls from concerned individuals who are reluctant to provide this information either by telephone or online.  They have heard the warnings about guarding their SSNs to protect themselves from identity theft.  Yet paradoxically, they are afraid to take advantage of two important services that can help reduce their potential exposure to identity theft.

Real ID Act Will Increase Exposure to ID Theft


If you think identity theft is bad now, wait until something called the Real ID Act goes into effect. This law federalizes and standardizes state driver’s licenses for all 50 states, and it will result in something that has been resisted in this country for a long time -- a de facto national identity card.
The Real ID Act was pushed through Congress in 2005 with little meaningful debate. It imposes sweeping changes on state driver’s licenses that will result in significant new fees and hassles for everyone who needs a license or ID – not to mention posing a new threat to Americans’ privacy. And, our experience suggests that if Real ID becomes the standard for driver’s licenses, it will worsen the problem of identity theft.

It's Tax Time. Take These Extra Precautions with Your Mail


During the month of January, check your mailbox for information notices from organizations that have made taxable payments to you during the previous year. While these information notices are essential for preparing your taxes, they also are a treasure trove for identity thieves. A typical information notice has your non-truncated Social Security number as well as the name of your employer, your bank, mutual fund, or stock broker.

Identity Theft Red Flags and Address Discrepancies under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003


The detection of red flags and the need to reconcile address discrepancies are among the most important anti-identity theft measures included in FACTA. Effective business policies and practices that spot attempted and actual identity theft early have great potential for relieving this national crime wave. This was the promise and Congress’ intent when it directed the Agencies to adopt Red Flag Regulations along with procedures to reconcile address discrepancies in credit reports.

The VA's Data Breach - Tips for Veterans and Action You Can Take under Federal Law


(May 23, 2006) Sensitive personal information of 26.5 million veterans was stolen recently when the home of a VA employee was robbed. The individual had brought a computer and disk home containing names, Social Security numbers (SSNs), dates of birth, and other information of anyone who served in the military and has been discharged since 1976. The theft apparently occurred May 3, 2006.

Privacy Tips for Tax Season


You may be resigned to giving the government your money this tax season, but watch out for fraudsters looking for a piece of the action. Your tax forms contain sensitive information, including your Social Security Number. Taxpayers have a choice of filing by mail or electronically. Consumers may use personal software, professional services, or old-fashioned pencil and paper. Either way you can bet there is a fraudster ready with a scam. The following tips can help protect your privacy.

Comments Regarding Federal Trade Commission Proposal to Continue to Conduct Surveys of the Public on Identity Theft


The Commission's 2003 survey found approximately 10 million identify theft victims in the prior year. Before the 2003 survey was released, annual victims were estimated at between half to three quarters of a million per year. These earlier estimates, everyone with any knowledge agree, grossly underestimated the scale and impact of this crime. The 2003 survey sounded a wake-up call. Still, we are not convinced that a complete picture of identity theft is known.

Who Is Using Your Checkbook? FDIC Warns About Qchex.com


While many consumers are scrambling to reduce their risk of identity theft, one business appears to be making it easier than ever to forge checks. Qchex.com allows customers to create checks without verifying the account holder's identity, according to authorities.

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