NATIONAL REPORT — Cases of identity theft, like those that took place at Kettering (Ohio) Animal Hospital (story below), are not uncommon.
In 2008, identity-theft complaints swelled to more than 10 times the amount posted in 2000 — from 31,140 to 313,982 cases in just eight years, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN). CSN compiles consumer complaints from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Better Business Bureau and other consumer watchdogs. Credit-card fraud is the most common type of identity theft. In fact, stolen identities made up 26 percent of the 1.2 million consumer complaint calls to CSN in 2008.
These statistics, FTC says, are a reminder of how important it is for businesses to make plans early to fight identity theft. It's also the impetus behind FTC's Red Flags Rule. Enforcment of the rule, which was postponed twice earlier this year, takes effect on Nov. 1.
The rule, developed in 2003 by the FTC and other regulatory agencies, went into effect last November requiring businesses offering credit to develop protocols and implement best practices to prevent identity theft. Creditors also will have to re-evaluate plans annually.
For more information on the Red Flags Rule, visit www.ftc.gov/redflagsrule.