California continues to lead the nation in identity theft. You have the right to question any company of its information destruction policy and practices. In this section, we explain laws required of companies and organizations in handling personal information:
HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law designed to protect patient privacy. Under this law, any health information needs to be safeguarded and disposed of properly, from medical records to health insurance claims.
FACTA. Part of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) law requires every company in the United States to properly dispose of sensitive customer and employee information. Other notable parts of this legislation are:
CREDIT REPORT ALERTS. Consumers can place an alert—or freeze—their credit report.
FREE CREDIT REPORT. Entitles consumers to receive one free credit report every 12 months.
RED FLAGS RULE. Enacted in 2008, the Red Flags Rule requires financial institutions and creditors to implement an Identity Theft Prevention Program. Compliance with this rule has been extended to June 2010.
For the latest news, see http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcrajump.shtm.
GRAMM-LEACH BLILEY ACT. Also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, this legislation requires financial institutions, insurance companies and credit agencies to not only keep consumer’s personal information private but also to have a safeguard plan in exchanging and disposing this information.