A bill of rights for victims of identity theft was proposed Tuesday by a dozen vendors, with input from bankers, legislators and law enforcement, all brought together by The Santa Fe Group, a New Mexico consultancy.
The bill would be the first major legal advance for victims of ID theft since the FACT Act of 2003, which gave them the right to repair their credit reports & dispute charges, says The Santa Fe Vendor Council, a consortium of leading providers established in 2006. The bill includes, for example, the individual's right to repayment of financial losses and expenses.
"This is not done against banks," Cathy Allen, CEO of The Santa Fe Group told BS&T. Banks aren't on the council because it is a vendor body, but they participate in monthly calls and conferences, such as one coming up in Washington, D.C. on April 1.
"Identity theft needs a holistic solution, not one-off product sales," she said, adding, "Vendors are often as plugged in, if not more so, than banks and can see problems as they emerge." Her firm brought vendors in collaborative contact with other vendors, banks and the regulators and lawmakers they would otherwise not have access to, Allen said. "Banks are on board because it's in their best interests."
A bad problem has gotten worse during the economic crisis "because of the distraction of financial institutions," Allen says. "I'm hearing that there's more than a 10 percent increase per annum in fraud attempts," she adds.
A recent report by Javelin Strategy & Research, the Pleasanton, Calif., security specialists found that 9.9 million Americans were affected by identity theft last year—up 22 percent from 2007. Yet, the crime has remained largely unregulated on a national level, the Council says, making it incredibly difficult for victims to regain their identities as well as bring justice to offenders.
They propose 5 basic rights for victims. The right to... Assess the nature and extent of the crime and remove the procedural "Catch 22s" when validating identity Fully restore their identities to pre-theft status including the ability to expunge records Avoid harassment from collection agencies, law enforcement and others Prosecute offenders and ensure accountability for businesses that fail to reasonably secure their personal information Restitution that includes repayment for financial losses and expenses