Important Identity Theft Laws
In 1998 identity theft laws were addressed with The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. Congress enacted this law in October 1998. These laws were finally put into effect because of the rising pressure for ID theft punishment for this horrible crime.
Under the federal criminal law, identity theft takes place when someone “knowingly transfers, possesses or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law”.
A social security number, credit card, cellular telephone electronic serial number and other pieces of information that may be used in conjunction with or alone with other information to identify a specific individual are considered a “means of identification.”
- In 2011 a new report shows there were 1.8 million identity theft complaints filed from Jan. to Dec.
- As of 2011 identity theft was the top leading reported consumer problem for the 12th year in a row.
- Identity theft had the highest incident rate reported from the 20-29 age group.
Identity Theft Laws And Statistics
- In 2002, the FTC published a report that estimated identity theft claimed there were almost 10 million victims of this crime.
- The cost to businesses and consumers was $53 billion.
- One bill is Identity Theft Victims Assistance Act of 2002. The other is the Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2001.
- Id theft punishment was imperative for people so there have been changes to the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act (FACT Act) that became law on December 2003 and took effect December 2004.
- President Bush signed into effect a tough new identity theft law in 2004.
Congress passed the law in response to the evidence of this rapidly growing problem and America’s demand for identity theft punishment for this debilitating crime.
- Any person on active military duty overseas can place special alerts on his/her credit reports while they are deployed overseas
- Fraudulent information now has to be reported by debt collectors to the creditors.
- After your report is flagged a suspect of becoming a victim of identity theft, the credit reporting agencies must ensure that all requests for credit are legitimate.
- The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts.
- As soon as a credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.
- If you are a victim you will now be notified of fraudulent activities if you have a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Fraud alerts can be extended up to 7 years according to identity theft laws.
- Mortgage lenders must provide key information for rejection.
- You will know the reason for rejection and will be aware if you are an identity theft victim.
- Even before the victim realizes they are a victim of identity theft, the lenders and creditors are required to take action.
- Lenders must honor fraud alerts. Lenders must verify an applicant’s identity.
For more, see identity theft deterrent for tips to protect you from identity theft.
- You are entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau annually.
- This law went into effect in December 2004. I addressed ways to do this in an earlier section.
- You are entitled to additional free credit reports if you are a victim of identity theft fraud.
- You will have access to business records that list and identify the thief’s fraudulent transactions if you are a victim.
- If you are a victim of identity theft, you need to make only one call to receive advice and set a national fraud alert to protect your credit rating.
Social Security Number
- 2007 will eliminate the printing of your entire credit card number on receipts. The last four digits will be the only ones to appear on the slip.
- Only the last 4 digits of your social security number will be printed on your credit report. This will protect your SSN from being overexposed.
- Address discrepancy notification – You will be alerted to address changes you didn’t make.
The identity theft laws are there to protect us; but, remember, early discovery makes it easier to address the situation and get your good name back.
It’s really unnecessary for you to become hooked into an identity theft situation because there are certain and specific steps you can take to avoid it.