Home » Law

What One Top Ten Identity Theft State is Doing About It

Aug 7, 2008
Consumers are not the only ones concerned about and taking steps to protect against identity theft. Many states are taking important steps to protect their residents. A few of these steps include stiffer penalties, imposing sanctions and fines on careless companies and providing their residents with many tools necessary to correct the errors that identity theft has caused.

Many identity theft savvy consumers are: installing anti-spy ware, using shredders, reducing the use of their social security number, using services to stop junk mail and risky credit card applications. But what about the actions of others? After all the care you take to protect yourself, what happens when others, such as companies or service providers do not?

Businesses that have access to your information aren't always looking for you. It is far too easy to simply throw important personal information away, than to take the sometimes expensive steps needed to have it professionally disposed of. But many states are looking out for your best interest, especially when it comes to identity theft. Texas has a growing reputation for being proactive in preventing identity theft and tough on punishing businesses who don't protect the consumer. Texas law requires vendors to take specific precautions before disposing of personal documents that may include customers' bank accounts, driver's license and Social Security numbers. In the state of Texas, you can bet companies will be thinking twice before dumping your credit application in a public trash can.

Examples of Poor Business Practices:

Public trash cans outside a local Radio Shack were filled with thousands of customer's sensitive personal and credit information after the dumping of these documents. Credit applications containing names, social security numbers, debit and credit card numbers as well as addresses and telephone numbers and receipts were located, exposing many Radio Shack Consumers to identity theft or credit card fraud.

After investigations by the State of Texas Attorney General's office, a settlement was reached. Under the settlement with Radio-Shack, the retailer is required to enhance security procedures and implement employee training. Radio Shack also agreed to unannounced compliance audits in all Texas stores bi-annually.

Select Medical was investigated after a report that over 4,000 documents were found in the garbage behind their Select Physical Therapy Location. These un-shredded records included bank account numbers, drug testing results, insurance verification sheets as well as sensitive social and vocational therapy questionnaires.

Select Medical will also be required to amend security procedures and implement training for Texas employees about the newly established state laws governing customer record disposal.

The insurance forms are of particular concern in light of the growing trend of medical identity theft, in which an individuals' insurance information is used to obtain medical services or to commit insurance fraud.

Under the settlement agreement, the state of Texas will receive nearly $1.5 million in fines, including attorney's fees. As outlined in the Identity Theft and Protection Act, the remainder will be used for the investigation and prosecution of future cases of identity theft.

Stiff penalties are just one of the steps taken to protect and prevent identity theft. The Texas Attorney General's Office has created a checklist for victims of identity theft to take steps and track their progress during recovery. The identity theft check list includes information and forms on: closing all fraudulent accounts made in your name, contacting the 3 major credit reporting agencies and requesting a fraud alert or security freeze for new accounts, reporting identity theft crimes for local law enforcement and obtaining a copy of the police report, and reporting identity theft crimes to Federal Trade Commission and completing and ID Theft Affidavit. Victims are also advised to file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Attorney General in the event that they are harassed by credit collectors as a result of identity theft. Additionally The Texas Attorney General's Office also offers an Identity Theft Victim's Kit.

According to 2006 state statistics on identity theft, Texas ranks fourth in the area of identity theft. States are ranked according to victims per 100,000 people, and it should be noted that Texas also has a higher population than many other states. The top ten states with the Most Victims of Identity Theft Per Capita are: Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Georgia, New York, Washington, and New Mexico.

Just because your state did not make the top ten list, doesn't mean you are safe. No matter where you live, this crime is a real problem. Information, advocacy, laws and prosecutions in any state will ultimately help everyone but in the mean time consumers must educate themselves and arm themselves with protection against identity theft as well as the remedies available to them. With the continued efforts of law enforcement, state and federal agencies, stiffer fines and penalties as well as requiring a higher standard of care from businesses, progress is being made on many levels in protecting consumers.
About the Author
Lisa Carey is a contributing author for Identity Theft Secrets: prevention and protection. You can get tips on Identity theft protection, software, and monitoring your credit as well as learn more about the secrets used by identity thieves at the Identity Theft Secrets blog.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 286
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources