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.

Tell the IRS that Allowing Tax Preparers to Sell Taxpayer Data to Marketers Is a Bad Idea


At tax time, like most people, you are concerned about the bottom line: Will I get a refund or will I have to pay? Privacy may never enter your mind, but perhaps it should. Under a new IRS proposal, among the papers you are asked to sign, could be a consent form that gives your tax preparer your okay to sell your entire tax return.

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 to Federal Agencies Regarding the Use of Personal Medical Data by Financial Institutions


When it comes to privacy, consumer expectations and fears are most elevated for sensitive data included in medical records. A major concern is potential secondary uses of medical information. For example, a consumer may understandably be concerned that a medical condition could adversely affect the ability to get a job or a mortgage. In recent amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Congress acted to address the discriminatory use of medical information in credit transactions.

Don't Be Scammed by Hurricane Katrina Fraudsters


Disasters bring out the best in people and the worst. These two dynamics intersect when scam-artists create fake charities with fundraising appeals, thereby bilking people out of donations that they meant to give to the victims.

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.

Financial Literacy and Education Campaign Strategies


Financial literacy should start early. Fundamental concepts such as the need for savings should be started in elementary school and be carried through the educational process.

Unfortunately, dysfunctional concepts such as “easy credit” are often instilled as college-age students are lured with multiple credit card offers and as television advertisements portray “the good life” as being fueled with credit card accounts. With the average household credit card indebtedness estimated at $9,000, these messages need to be countered early on with education about the responsible uses of credit.

Comments on FACTA Disposal Rule, RIN 3064-AC77: Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act Disposal of Consumer Report Information and Records


Irresponsible handling of sensitive consumer data has long been cited as a contributing factor to identity theft. A practice known as "dumpster diving" is often claimed by thieves themselves as the source of the data that allowed them to commit the crime. Sensitive data discarded by a financial institution provides a prime opportunity for a crook to access another's personal data.

By enacting §216 requiring proper disposal of consumer information, Congress has given the public one of the strongest tools yet in combating the growing crime of identity theft. It is now up to the financial regulators and the FTC to carry out Congress' intent by adopting strong regulations to ensure identity theft is no longer fed by careless and irresponsible disposal of confidential consumer data.

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