Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Annual Credit Reports

As you may know, we are all entitled to a Free Annual Credit Report under FACTA or the FACT Act.

Be aware that if you visit another site to obtain your "free credit file disclosure" that it may impact your credit rating. I am posting this information to my blog to clarify this issue. provides consumers with the secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). is the only service authorized by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for this purpose. The three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies have always encouraged consumers to regularly review their credit reports. is the official site to help consumers to obtain their free credit report.

Utilitiy Companies

The FTC has issued an "Article for Business" for Utilities regarding the Red Flags Rule

The Red Flags Rule: What Utility Companies Need to Know About Complying with New Requirements for Fighting Identity Theft

Companies that provide utility services are covered by the Rule if they are “creditors” with “covered accounts.” A creditor is a business or organization that regularly defers payments for goods or services.

Fighting Fraud with the Red Flags Rule: A How-To Guide for Business

This site from the FTC can help a business get a handle on the Red Flags Rule.

Fighting Fraud with the Red Flags Rule: A How-To Guide for Business

...As a practical matter, most businesses and organizations that provide products and services to their customers and then bill them later are covered by the Rule.

If you look into the FAQ section of this site it will remind you that even if you are not covered under the Red Flags Rule now, that you need to periodically do a Risk Assessment to consider whether your status has changed

Of course, from time to time you need to consider whether your identity theft risk has changed, warranting a different approach with respect to the Rule.

Companies Offering Services In and Around the Home

If you are running a business serving residential customers, you should be aware of this Article from the FTC:

The Red Flags Rule: Compliance Tips for Companies Offering Services In and Around the Home

...businesses must review their billing and payment procedures to determine if they’re covered by the Red Flags Rule. Whether the law applies to you isn’t based on the kind of business you’re in, but rather on whether your activities fall within the law’s definition of two key terms: “creditor” and “covered account.”


The FTC has published an "Article for Business" titled "Franchisors: Are You Complying with the Red Flags Rule’s New Requirements for Fighting Identity Theft?" stating in part that:
Every franchise system must review its billing and payment procedures to determine if it’s covered by the Red Flags Rule.

Monday, July 6, 2009

FTC and the Texas Workforce Commission

This is not an article I have used in class but I am now expanding the scope of my blog to help me distribute information to business owners and other decision makers. I put these 3 links here for easy access. If I have mentioned them in class, I may have mentioned them as part of the reason the class has been brought together.

The Federal Trade Commission has published a booklet titled "Protecting Personal Information, A Guide for Business" which is now an interactive website designed to help Business Owners. You can download the guide as a PDF or order copies from the website here:

In 2005 the Texas Workforce Commission addressed this issue in its Fall 2005 newsletter "Legal Briefs"section titled "Identity Theft in the Workplace: What You Must Know." This free newsletter is archived online here and the Legal Briefs article is on pages 1-6

The Texas Workforce Commission also revisited the topic in the Winter 2007 issue on pages 1-4 in another article titled "An Introduction to the Fair And Accurate Credit Reporting Act (FACTA): What Business Owners Must Know" and referred to the previous 2005 article

Identity Theft Reference, Surveys, Studies and Statistics

The Federal Trade Commission maintains a "Reference Desk" intended to serve as an
"Identity Theft Resource Library. You'll find important laws, reports and testimony from both the federal and state level with information relating to credit, privacy and information security, fraud alerts, and Social Security numbers."

This library contains links to many resources including National and State data as well as Testimony, actual Laws, Rules and other information available through their Deter, Detect, Defend Campaign:

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse at has posted listings of Identity Theft Surveys, Studies and Statistics from
"Javelin Strategy & Research, Better Business Bureau, Identity Theft Resource Center, Federal Trade Commission, Gartner, and Privacy & American Business"
originally posted in September 2003 and last updated in June 2007

Doctors, Hospitals, Healthcare Providers and Identity Theft Red Flags

I noticed that I don't have a specific post about Hospitals and I noticed this article in the news about Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center updates policy to address the FACTA Red Flags Rule:
"The hospital already had a medical identity theft prevention program in place, he said, but is updating it as part of the Federal Trade Commission's "Red Flag Rules" program."

This May 2009 article from the FTC was intended to clarify the actions that Hospitals and other Healthcare providers must take and in it they state

The Red Flags Rule, a law the FTC will begin to enforce on August 1, 2009, requires certain businesses and organizations — including many doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other health care providers — to develop a written program to spot the warning signs — or “red flags” — of identity theft. Is your practice covered by the Red Flags Rule?

The “Red Flags” Rule: What Health Care Providers Need to Know About Complying with New Requirements for Fighting Identity Theft

Girl Scouts and ID Theft

This came up in a conversation recently and I realized it was not on my blog so here are 2 links about how Girl Scouts were touched by the Identity Theft epidemic in 2007:

1. Colorado Mile High Council Data Breach
The Girl Scouts Mile Hi Council has notified its members and their parents that they might be at risk for identity theft because of tapes stolen from a car June 27.,1299,DRMN_15_5621147,00.html

2. Girl Scout Leader Sentenced to 10 years + for Identity Theft
October 31, 2007, Barnes entered pleas of guilty to nineteen (19) counts of filing false and fictitious claims for refund to the IRS, fifteen (15) counts of unlawfully using the identification of another person to commit an unlawful activity (Identity Theft), and one (1) count of theft of government property. In her October plea hearing, Barnes admitted to having used her position of trust as a Girl Scout leader in Pea Ridge, Florida, to obtain personal history information from the members of the Girl Scout Troop.


Welcome to my blog. The primary purpose of this Blog is to provide links to source material that I may have quoted in a presentation or training or researched in answer to a question I have been asked.

I hope this site helps you share this information with others and/or conduct your own research. Please contact me with any questions. Thank you for visiting.