WASHINGTON D. C. – "Today, the Committee returns to considering the expiring preemption provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act."
"As part of this process, I believe it is essential that we undertake a thorough review of the larger context in which the Act operates."
"And, in this regard, the first thing worth noting is the truly dynamic nature of the credit markets and our economy. In just the six years since the FCRA was last amended significant changes have occurred. There are new participants, new technologies, new information use practices and new products. Indeed, there is more that has changed than has remained the same in the operation of the credit markets since the last time Congress considered the FCRA."
"While many of these changes introduced positive features - such as more credit and an expedited process for obtaining credit - not every new development has been positive."
"Unfortunately, as our economy has grown more automated, allowing more and more depersonalized transactions to occur, and, as the transfer of personally identifiable information has become much more frequent, a new type of crime that takes advantage of these circumstances has emerged - identity theft."
"Identity theft involves a person using someone else's personal information without their knowledge to commit fraud or theft."
"Practically speaking, the crime involves misappropriation of such personal information as a victim's name, date of birth, and Social Security number. Identity thieves then use this information to open new credit card accounts, to divert current accounts from victims to themselves, and to open bank accounts in victims' names, among other things. The bad charges and the hot checks usually happen while the victims, banks, credit card companies and other firms are unaware that something is amiss. After all the activity and the skipped payments, businesses usually take action to get compensated and ultimately cut the thief off."
"In most instances this is when victims first become aware of the fact they have been targeted. It is also when they begin to experience the negative consequences - dealing with law enforcement and the collection agencies. Soon thereafter, when the criminals' handiwork shows up on their credit reports, they face the considerable task of restoring their good name and credit. Plainly, this crime has many victims. Firms lose profits. Individuals lose time, money, and peace of mind when their good name and reputation are tarnished."
"In light of the serious nature of the consequences of identity theft, this issue would merit attention even if there were only a limited number of victims. Unfortunately, there are thousands of victims whose numbers are growing at an increasingly faster pace. Indeed, it has been asserted that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America."
"This issue tracks across credit reporting in so many ways that it is essential that we consider it in the context of the reauthorization of the preemption provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act."
"Identity theft prevention, restoration of accurate reports and victim assistance, among many other areas, are things that were not on the radar screen when the 1996 amendments were passed into law. These are things we need to be thinking about as we go forward, things we must be considering if we are going to meet our goal of ensuring that the law produces the most effective, efficient, balanced and fair system possible."