Financial privacy — The World Privacy Forum filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission today about its proposed study of credit -based pricing practices for homeowners insurance. The World Privacy Forum requested that the FTC ask insurers if there are specific procedures in place for detecting, mitigating, and responding to consumers who have been victims of identity theft. The WPF noted its support for the FTC’s use of the FTC Act Section 6(b) authority to acquire robust information from the insurance companies.
Medical identity theft update — The Federal Trade Commission released its national ID theft survey, which for the first time contains statistics specific to medical identity theft. According to the FTC report (p. 21), 3 percent of all identity theft victims in 2005 were victims of medical identity theft, which means of 8.3 million ID theft victims, approximately 250,000 people were victimized by medical identity theft in that year alone. The purpose of the World Privacy Forum 2006 report was to prove that medical identity theft existed, and was already occurring in large numbers. At the time the report was published, the crime of medical identity theft had not been specifically studied, nor was it understood to exist. The FTC statistics abundantly affirm the thesis and conclusions of the WPF report.
Security freeze | identity theft | financial privacy — A credit freeze (sometimes called a security freeze) lets you stop the disclosure of your credit report by a credit bureau. A credit freeze can be especially helpful to individuals who are having persistent problems with identity theft. If you live in a state with a security freeze law, then you may be able to place a security freeze on your files. This World Privacy Forum resource gives general background on security freezes, lists the states with security freeze laws, and links to more information for each state.
REAL ID | National ID — The World Privacy Forum and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed joint comments with the Department of Homeland Security about the proposed national ID system, REAL ID. The comments discuss the substantial flaws in the proposed REAL ID system including concerns about the overall structure of the program, the cards, the databases attached to the cards, the lack of controls on “function creep,” the possibilities for discrimination, the potential for increased risk of identity theft, issues related to potential gaps in coverage for recipients on Federal programs, among other issues.
The World Privacy Forum filed comments and recommendations with the President’s Identity Theft Task Force. The task force’s draft report and recommendations did not include or contemplate medical identity theft solutions for victims; the WPF has requested and recommended that this be corrected. Medical identity theft victims need more help, more recourse, and agency attention.