Every year, around 10 million Americans become victims of a crime called identity theft – to thieves who wipe out their accounts through purchases of many different things. The end result is always damaged credit and a huge debt owed by the real person who owns the account. Identity theft has been committed for so long, but never before have identity thieves had the greatest ease in stealing personal information, than now, due to the Internet, which makes communication and the exchange of information so much faster. This means that your social media page and smartphone are never safe.
Identity theft, which is a major threat to many individuals and businesses, refers to the illegal acquisition and use of someone else’s personal information for economic gain. More than $50 billion in losses from as many as 10 million working Americans are recorded every year; almost the same sum spent by U.S. firms in thwarting attempts of identity thieves from gaining (unauthorized) access to their files and data banks.
Battling identity theft requires companies, especially those possessing information about personal and business accounts, to come up with a serious and solid program that will render them capable of easily and immediately detecting and stopping this crime. To step up the fight against this illegal activity, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) was enacted by the New Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the conduction of an Identity Theft Prevention Course (ITPC) to business firms. The ITPC is designed to train employees assigned in handling consumer information in Red Flags Rule.
The Red Flags Rule is a warning sign intended to help businesses recognize, minimize and prevent damages caused by identity theft. It forms part of the FTC-required Identity Theft Prevention program, which is a set of printed guidelines that creditors (with covered accounts) and financial institutions ought to execute. Covered accounts, on the other hand, refer to consumer accounts that allow payments or transactions; examples of these accounts are checking accounts, savings accounts, credit card account, mortgage loan and automobile loan. Through this red flags rule, companies are expected to see through the patterns and tactics employed by identity thieves in the performance of their crime.
Being charged with identity theft, which is one type of white collar crime, is a serious offense and can result to damaging effects to the individual’s or business’ reputation and future. Thus, very strong representation is necessary to protect oneself from a conviction that can definitely damage his/her future personal, community and professional life.