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.

PRC Opposes Calif. Proposition 64


Nov. 5: Unfortunately, Prop. 64 passed in the Nov. 2 Elections by a 59% to 41% margin.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse urges California voters to oppose the November 2nd ballot initiative Proposition 64, which limits the enforcement of laws that protect against consumer abuses, polluters, and privacy violations. We also urge those who are interested in learning more about the mischaracterization of “trial lawyers” and “shakedown” lawsuits as a national issue, to read on.

Online Information Brokers and Your Privacy


There are many websites that sell or provide for free, personal information about individuals. This information is gathered from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance), publicly-available sources and public records.

Why the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Opposes California Proposition 69: “DNA Samples. Collection. Database. Funding. Initiative Statute”


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is urging Californians to vote against an extremely troubling and misleading initiative in the upcoming November 2nd election. Proposition 69, called the “DNA Samples. Collection. Database. Funding. Initiative Statute” significantly expands the collection of DNA from convicted felons and from individuals who have been arrested.

PRC's Privacy Update No. 2, Iss. 6


In this issue . . .

[1] Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Files Lawsuit Charging Albertsons’ Pharmacies with Violating the Privacy of Pharmacy Customers

[2] What’s New on the PRC’s Web Site--Fact Sheets Galore!
--UPDATED: Fact Sheet 6 Now Notes Updates to the Fair Credit Reporting Act under FACTA
--UPDATED: Fact Sheets 16 and 16(b)-- Updated with FACTA Changes to Workplace Investigations and Free Background Check Reports
--NEW! Fact Sheet 6(a): FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act: Consumers Win Some, Lose Some
--NEW! Fact Sheet 24(e): Is Your Financial Information Safe?

[3] The Return Exchange: Have You Been Denied the Ability to Make Returns or Exchanges with Large Retailers? We Want to Know.

Privacy Groups Urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to Veto Spyware Bill


The California-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the World Privacy Forum urge you to veto SB 1436, a bill dealing with spyware, authored by Senator Kevin Murray.  While this bill is well-intentioned, it would establish provisions that are virtually unenforceable, could well undermine existing law, and further, would set a bad precedent nationwide for other spyware bills that are likely to be considered in other states and in Congress.

Privacy Rights and the Marketing of Confidential Medical Information: Questions and Answers on the Case of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) v. Albertsons


Albertsons collects its customers’ confidential medical information by surreptitiously reviewing customer prescriptions - required to be kept confidential and used only as authorized by the patient - and creates a retrievable database including customer addresses, phone numbers and drug regimen. The information is made available for use to satisfy pharmaceutical companies willing to pay Albertsons to fulfill drug marketing objectives. The result is unsolicited mailings and/or phone calls directed at consumers attempting to convince them to buy more or different medications.

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