Regulation

FTC Seeks Input On ID Theft Prevention Rules

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday (December 4) it is seeking comment on whether the agency should make changes to rules requiring financial institutions and creditors to take certain steps to detect signs of identity theft affecting their customers.

In a press release, the FTC said that it periodically reviews all of its rules and guidelines and wants comment on whether any modifications need to be made to the Red Flags Rule and the Card Issuers Rule. With the Red Flags Rule, financial firms and some creditors have to implement a written identity theft prevention program aimed at detecting red flags of identity theft during the course of normal operations, take steps to prevent it and mitigate damage as a result of it.

Meanwhile, the Card Issuers Rule requires debit or credit card issuers to put in place policies and procedures to assess the validity of a change of address request if, within a short period of time after receiving the request, the issuer receives a request for an additional or replacement card for the same account. The Card Issuers Rule prevents a card issuer from issuing an additional or replacement card until it has notified the cardholder about the request or otherwise assessed the validity of the address change, the FTC said in the release. It noted that identity theft was the second largest category of consumer complaints made to the government agency in 2017. It was the third biggest complaint area for the first three quarters of this year, noted the FTC.

Some of the questions the FTC wants comments on include whether there is a continuing need for the specific provisions of the rules; what benefits the rules have provided to consumers; what significant costs, if any, the rules have imposed on consumers and businesses; and if there are any types of creditors that are not currently covered by the Red Flags Rule but should be because they offer or maintain accounts that could be at risk of identity theft.

The FTC said the comments on the two rules will be published in the Federal Register shortly, along with instructions on how to submit comments. The deadline for submitting comments is February 11, 2019.

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