Full-Page Ad Distorts Facts about SB 773, California Financial Privacy Bill

The group's name, as well as its web site's address, www.caprivacyprotection.org, bely the Coalition's true colors. It is an industry-backed organization, comprised of the California Chamber of Commerce and the major financial industry trade associations in the state.

The Coalition's newspaper ad contains outright distortions about the provisions of SB 773. Here are some examples.

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.

Watch Out for "Phishing" Emails Attempting to Capture Your Personal Information

Email users are being bombarded with authentic-looking messages that instruct them to provide sensitive personal information. It's called "phising." Individuals who "bite" are exposed to identity theft.

Phishing occurs when a consumer receives a deceptively-legitimate looking email from what appears to be a reputable company. The email asks recipients to update their credit card information or their account will be promptly terminated. Or the message offers a service to protect their credit cards from possible fraud.

Confusing E-Mail about Opt-Out Number Sends the Wrong Message

An unknown individual has broadcast an electronic mail message that has reached tens of thousands of consumers, confusing them with information that is only half correct.

The message explains, erroneously, that as of July 1, 2003, "the four major credit bureaus in the US will be allowed . to release your credit info, mailing addresses, phone numbers..... to anyone who requests it." This is not correct.

North Dakota Votes for "Opt-In" Financial Privacy

On June 11, 2002, voters in North Dakota spoke overwhelmingly in favor of financial privacy. A referendum which would prohibit banks from sharing, selling or otherwise disclosing personal financial information succeeded by a majority of three to one. This confirms what polls have been telling us for years. Consumers feel strongly about privacy, particularly when it comes to the sensitive information in bank records.

Consumers on the Do Not Call Registry Allege Telemarketing Calls by Mortgage Concepts

Consumers in Southern California say they have been receiving calls from a company called Mortgage Concepts even though they are on the National Do Not Call Registry. The pre-recorded outbound sales calls ask consumers to push a number on their phone if they are the homeowner. They are then asked additional questions such as whether they are in the market to refinance their mortgage and are told a representative from Mortgage Concepts will call them back. When a representative does call them back, the company does not disclose information about their whereabouts.

Bogus Job Ads Attempt to Obtain Consumer Bank Account Data

The World Privacy Forum and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse have become aware of a nationwide job scam currently in action. We are advising job seekers to avoid any response to job ads coming from Macrocommerce Intersales and to be aware of the high potential for financial fraud and /or identity theft if they have already responded to job ads from this company.

Nonprofit Organizations and Privacy: Responsible Mailing List Management

We got a call from a woman who had written over 2,000 letters in the past couple years, asking to be taken off various and sundry mailing lists. She kept detailed records of all her correspondence and its effect. The one entity that was the most troublesome to her was a nonprofit organization -- she wrote it 18 times to no avail. It was the Republican National Committee

For a Complete Medical History, Compile Your Own Health Records but be Cautious about Storing Them Online

If you don't already keep a personal health record, now is the best time to start. Do not rely on your ability to go back in time to collate a complete medical file. The longer you wait, the more difficulty you may have in obtaining older health records.

New Privacy Rights May Be Buried in "Junk" Mail

Now is not the time to toss junk mail and ignore inserts in your bank and credit card statements. "Watch your mail!" says Tena Friery, research director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Because of a new federal law, financial institutions are now mailing notices to consumers containing important information about their privacy rights. "Failure to pay attention to these privacy notices may result in sensitive financial data being sold to other companies for marketing and other purposes," warns Friery.

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