Identity Theft Surveys and Studies: How Many Identity Theft Victims Are There? What Is the Impact on Victims?

Recent Surveys and Studies from Javelin Strategy & Research, Better Business Bureau, Identity Theft Resource Center, Federal Trade Commission, Gartner, and Privacy & American Business

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.

California Do-Not-Call Registry Is Merging with the Federal List

In 2002, the California Legislature mandated that the state's Attorney General (AG) establish a statewide do-not-call list. It was to be operational by April 1, 2003. But in December 2002, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would establish a national do-not-call list that would encompass all of the states. Rather than duplicate efforts and confuse consumers, the California AG's office instead joined with the FTC in order to merge the state's efforts with the federal list. The federal list will not be activated until October 2003. Here's how this has all transpired and what it means for you:

Consumers in Midwest States Can Get Free Credit Reports Starting March 1, 2005

A new federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, adopted by Congress in 2003 gives consumers nationwide the right to receive a free copy of their credit report. The law is being phased in through the U.S. and Midwest states are next on the rollout list. The ability for consumers to get a free copy of their credit report annually started on the West Coast on December 1, 2004, and individuals living in the Midwest can start receiving their reports on March 1, 2005.

Groups Ask the FTC to Immediately Stop Credit Bureaus From Blocking Web Links to www.AnnualCreditReport.com

The World Privacy Forum and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today requesting the agency immediately take steps to protect consumers in advance of the March 1 rollout of free credit reports to Midwestern U.S. residents.

Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in Employment Screening

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and PrivacyActivism submitted comments to the US Attorney General expressing concern about commercial data vendors and private employers' use of federal criminal records files for employment purposes. The comments were submitted at the request of the US Attorney General who is seeking recommendations for a report being prepared for Congress. The report to Congress is required by a 2004 law for Intelligence Reform.

Call Don't Click Update: Still Be Smart about Ordering Federally Mandated Free Credit Reports

A new report issued today by the World Privacy Forum shows that many consumers may still be better off calling or mailing in for their federally mandated free credit reports instead of accessing the reports online. Although the official Annualcreditreport.com site has improved since its launch in December 2004, there are continuing hazards posed by imposter Web domains, some of which have been aggressively attempting to misdirect and in some cases deceive consumers.

Privacy Advocates Call for Tough Regulation of Financial Data and Stronger Identity Theft Protections

The recent security breaches of sensitive customer information held by ChoicePoint and Bank of America have underscored how vulnerable consumers are to threats of identity theft and the need for stronger protections to reduce such fraud. Watchdog groups are calling for new laws that provide proper oversight of businesses that collect and sell sensitive consumer information and tougher safeguards to give consumers the tools they need to stop identity theft before it starts.

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