Only in California! A Huntington Beach woman used another woman’s identity to pay for breast implants and liposuction. At first glance, it’s a laughable story. But imagine being the woman who has to prove that she wasn’t the augmentation recipient! Remember, with identity theft, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Medical identity theft will take us to new and embarrassing depths in order to prove that we are innocent. It will give new meaning to the phrase “bearing witness”. And it prompts the question of why we don’t have a set of universal rules that govern our personally identifying information?
On a related note, I recently became involved with the Santa Fe Group which published an excellent white paper informally known as the Identity Theft Bill of Rights. Registering for a download of the paper is well worth your time – it does an excellent job of summarizing the identity theft issues that we, as Americans, face in the coming years. It includes discussions about modifying language in HIPAA to protect against medical identity theft crimes similar to and far more serious than the Huntington Beach case.
As our population grows older on the shoulders of the baby boomers, medical identity theft and its cousins will become ever more prevalent and damaging. Help us fight for our identity rights by getting involved. Start by registering for a webinar put on by the Santa Fe Group called:
Here is the recent press release from the Santa Fe Group announcing the Bill of Rights:
THE SANTA FE GROUP RELEASES IDENTITY THEFT
“BILL OF RIGHTS”
Five basic rights to empower victims and restore identity
February 24, 2009, Santa Fe, NM – The Santa Fe Group, a financial services consulting firm, and The Santa Fe Group Vendor Council, a consortium of leading service providers to the financial services industry, today released the first comprehensive Bill of Rights for victims of identity theft. The Bill of Rights calls for consistent processes for handling identity crime incidents in addition to amendments to privacy legislation and regulation so victims can more easily access and correct their personal information records.
The five basic rights address the need for legislation that enables individual victims of identity theft to access and correct personally identifiable information (PII) records. The Bill of Rights white paper, titled Victims’ Rights: Fighting Identity Crime on the Front Lines, is now available at http://santa-fe-group.com/whitepapers/register.php.
The Identity Crime Victims Bill of Rights advocates improved protection and support for victims and includes:
• Assessment of the nature and extent of the crime that removes the procedural “Catch-22s” when validating identity
• Full restoration of victims’ identities to pre-theft status, including the ability to expunge records
• Freedom from harassment from collection agencies, law enforcement and others
• Prosecution of offenders and accountability for businesses that fail to reasonably secure personal information
• Restitution that includes repayment for financial losses and expenses
The white paper effort was led by the Identity Management Working Group of The Santa Fe Group Vendor Council chaired by Rick Kam, President of ID Experts (www.idexpertscorp.com).
“Despite new additions to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 (FACT), such as free credit reports and the ability to place fraud alerts after identity theft, victims are still subject to inconsistent and unfair treatment from state and federal agencies, law enforcement and businesses,” said Rick Kam, President of Portland-based ID Experts, a leader in data breach prevention and remediation. “We created the Bill of Rights to empower victims by granting them the same rights as victims of other crimes.”
According to Javelin Strategy and Research, 9.9 million Americans were victimized by identity crimes in 2008, an increase of 22% from 2007, with annual costs to consumers and businesses of more than $49 billion. In their journey to recover their identities, victims face a disjointed maze of privacy laws and information sources. Law enforcement processes are not always in place, and organizations often won’t share evidence with victims. As a result, a victim’s life can be disrupted for years.
“Victim empowerment is key to thwarting identity crime,” said Catherine A. Allen, Chairman and CEO of The Santa Fe Group. “With the Identity Crime Victims Bill of Rights, we’ve launched a national call to action, laying the groundwork for meaningful and much-needed legislation while building awareness of the issue in the media and among consumers and businesses. Our intent is that victims of all types of identity crime be provided with the same rights afforded to them via the FACT Act for resolving credit issues.”
About The Santa Fe Group
The Santa Fe Group (santa-fe-group.com) is a strategic consulting company providing unparalleled expertise to leading financial institutions and other critical infrastructure companies. Drawing from the most advanced thinking in the industry, access to experts in risk management, technology, security, innovation and other critical areas, and our deep knowledge of industry regulatory and legislative issues, we bring outstanding results to our clients. The Santa Fe Group is a strategic partner to BITS (bitsinfo.org), a nonprofit consortium whose members are 100 of the nation’s largest financial institutions.
The Santa Fe Group Vendor Council promotes the development of secure, best-in-class technology solutions for use in the financial services industry and beyond. Established in 2006, The Santa Fe Group Vendor Council brings vendor intellectual capital together with IT strategy at top financial institutions. For more information about The Santa Fe Group Vendor Council, go to http://www.santa-fe-group.com/capabilities_vendor-council.php.