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December 29th, 2008

Government Agencies Fight Identity Theft

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Various financial initiatives became lost in shuffle during this Year of the Bailout, as the now infamous $700 billion financial-rescue plan took much of the spotlight. One of those initiatives lost along the way was identity theft.

Back in July the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the required implementation of the “Red Flag Rules” — a mandate for financial institutions and creditors to develop and put into action a written identity-theft program. While the deadline to jump start the program has been delayed from November 1, 2008 until May 1, 2009, Federal regulators haven’t lost any steam trying to stem the prevention of stolen identities.

Last week, regulators announced the revised identity theft brochure, You Have the Power to Stop Identity Theft. “The updated brochure focuses primarily on Internet “phishing” by describing how phishing works, offering ways to protect against identity theft, and detailing steps to follow for victims of identity theft.”

This month, the FTC released a 21-page report on Social Security Numbers and their relation to identity theft. The president’s Identity Theft Task Force determined “the various private sector uses of the SSN and concludes with five specific FTC recommendations.”

“As the private sector’s use of the SSN has grown, so too has its availability and value for identity thieves. The Commission believes that a number of actions could be taken to reduce the role of SSNs in identity theft, with emphasis on reducing the demand for SSNs by minimizing their value to identity thieves through improved authentication processes.”

READERS: How concerned are you by identity theft? Has it happened to you, or someone you know — and if so, how?

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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