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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FTC Report on ID Theft Shows Need for Stronger Consumer Protections

A new report released by the Federal Trade Commission today estimates that 8.3 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2005. The report underscores the need to provide consumers with stronger protections against identity fraud, according to Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.

"Identity theft is a huge headache that continues to plague millions of Americans every year," says Gail Hillebrand, director of Consumers Union's Financial Privacy Now campaign. "It's time to require businesses and government agencies to safeguard sensitive personal data and to give
consumers the protection they need."

While the FTC's estimate of identity theft victims is lower than its 2003 report, the agency noted that the decline was not statistically significant. The FTC found that 37 percent of identity theft victims reported that they experienced problems beyond the time and money spent
recovering from the fraud, such as harassment by debt collectors and denial of new credit. Sixty-eight percent of new account fraud victims reported experiencing these kinds of problems. The report found that nearly one-quarter of new account fraud victims did not find out about the misuse of their information until at least six months after it started.

As of Nov. 1, consumers nationwide have the ability to thwart new account fraud by freezing access to their credit files. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring credit reporting agencies to allow consumers to protect their credit files with a security freeze. The credit reporting agencies are now making this safeguard available to consumers in the remaining states.

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Blogger gammydodger said...

If you took a small loan out and didn't pay it back - you'd pretty quickly reduce your credit score to one where nobody would lend you money. Perhaps you'd be safe at that point, but you'd be unable to take out a loan. But if you pre-arranged this with your bank and they agreed to ignore your credit score, you'd get around that problem and the bank would have a tied customer. That's one way around the problem - I've articulated a few more here: ID Theft and the Emperor's New Clothes

1:04 AM  

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