California's "Shine the Light" Law Goes into Effect Jan. 1, 2005


When you’ve received junk mail, have you ever wondered which company provided your name and address to the marketer? Now you can find out. The “Shine the Light” law requires certain businesses to disclose their information-sharing practices with their customers. Upon request, companies must tell you with whom they have shared your personal information for marketing purposes within the last twelve months.

Consumers Can Get Free “Specialty” Consumer Reports Starting December 1, 2004


SAN DIEGO, CA – The arrival of free credit reports on December 1st is getting a lot of attention these days. (www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/freereports.htm) But there is another kind of report, called “specialty consumer reports,” that individuals can obtain at no charge beginning on the first of the month. The federal law that requires credit reporting bureaus to provide free reports is the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, also known as FACTA. The law also gives consumers the right to one free report prepared by a “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency” that compiles files on consumers.

Federal Trade Commission Releases Web Site and Phone Number for Free Credit Reports


Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released information about the phone number, web site and mail-in form that consumers can use to order their free annual credit reports. Free annual credit reports will be rolled out starting on the West Coast beginning December 1, 2004, and ending in September 2005 on the East Coast.

The Return Exchange: Q & A


The consumers who have contacted us have expressed a concern about having their drivers license swiped. Most indicate that they were not notified at the Point of Sale (POS) that their license or other form of goverment-issued ID would be required in order to make a return or exchange.

Consumers in West Coast States Can Get Free Credit Reports Starting December 1, 2004


Beginning December 1, 2004, consumers living in the western U.S. will have the right to order a free copy of their credit report thanks to a new federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, adopted by Congress in 2003. Consumers elsewhere in the nation will get the same right over the next year as the law is phased in across the country. By requiring credit reporting bureaus to provide free credit reports annually upon request, the new law enables consumers to more readily monitor if they are victims of identity theft or if their credit reports contain errors.

Phishing Emails Can Lead to Domain Registration for Scam Web Sites


"Phishing" emails are sent by scam artists and are disguised to look like they come for a legitimate financial institution or other online vendor such as eBay or PayPal. The PRC has received reports from those who have replied to phishing emails with their name, address and phone number who later learned that their personal information was used by the phisher to register web site domains. At times, if they also provided a legitimate credit card number, it may be used to pay for the web site registration, too.

PRC Portrayed in Lifetime Movie: Identity Theft - The Michelle Brown Story


A few years ago a Southern California woman named Michelle Brown contacted the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse seeking help regarding an especially difficult identity theft situation. The thief obtained information provided by Michelle on a housing application and procured over $50,000 in goods and services including a lease for an apartment, a $32,000 truck, and liposuction. The thief also obtained a state- issued ID using Michelle's name and later engaged in drug smuggling for which she was arrested as Michelle.

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