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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Public apathy and a feckless Congress keep identity theft flourishing

From the public’s point of view, you never think it will happen to you, but then it does. It happened to our family and I am in constant touch with our financial accounts. Fortunately our bank caught the fraud and contacted me. If they hadn’t I would have through several daily checks of our bank records, and at least weekly checks on the credit cards.

The recent reports on Facebook personal data being exposed has not dampened the spirits of social networking enthusiasts. It is this kind of blanket apathy that keeps the ID thieves in business. Javelin Strategy & Research reports in their “2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report” that there were 11.1 million victims of identity fraud in 2009, up from 9.9 million in 2008. The number of those duped is approaching 5 percent of the total U.S. population. That is critical!

So why is Congress vacillating again over a data breach bill that would protect your private information from identity crooks? Because of a continuing ineptness that this body has been plagued with for several years now. No wonder 54 percent of the public is dissatisfied with what their congressional leaders are doing.

Senate Democrats just introduced the Data Security and Breach Notification Act requiring Business and nonprofit groups to adhere to certain standards in protecting consumer data. Last year Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT), introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2009 (S.1490), with the last action the end of 2009, where it continues to sit in a committee.

For more proof of the dilemma, you can go to Identity Theft Resource Center and look over their “Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2009” report. As the experts when it comes to identifying and solving ID theft incidents, they have compiled some good information that is helpful before, during and following this fraud.

The question, of course, is whether the apathy of consumers over this issue will continue at the same level, or, perhaps, even get worse. If either of these cases occurs, we can expect Congress to proceed in the same fashion it has in the past and end up doing nothing about identity theft.

Let President Obama and your congressional representatives know what you think. Contact the House of Representatives here, the Senate here. Contact the White House here.

Photo compliments Creative Commons.

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