Here’s an interesting bill recently introduced into Congress that would allow citizens who have been victimized by identity theft to seek repayment for the money and time spent repairing their credit history.
Credit card number theft is almost an insignificant issue. I’ve had unknown charges occur on my credit card, and in one of those cases, the card company contacted me. The other one only required a simple phone call. I’m not sure how they got the numbers. One of those cards had only been used once at Best Buy, but it happens. Either way, it didn’t cost me a dime.
This is about identity theft though – stealing enough information to obtain credit cards of your own in someone else’s name, then racking up thousands of dollars of debt. EMV doesn’t solve any fraud issues because most identity theft is either
A) caused by somebody giving out information too willingly to someone who really doesn’t need it, or
B) caused by somebody who should have been trustworthy not taking care of the data that they retain.
EMV won’t help either of those situations. For people who aren’t aware, EMV is a smart card system for credit cards. As far as I know, EMV also won’t really solve card number theft, since internet purchases have to be made the old-fashioned way unless you just happen to be willing to buy a reader for your computer.
The only thing that will really solve identity theft is making credit card companies and credit agencies fully responsible for every penny of losses due to identity theft. This law is exactly backwards and should not be passed. The reality is, we wouldn’t have identity theft problems if those companies were held liable for losses. You would apply for a credit card, and they would make phone calls to your last known telephone number, give you some code number, and ask you to call a 1-800 number and enter that code in order to complete the request. The fact that they don’t do even the most basic checks to verify the validity of a CC request is proof positive that they are content to let merchants and individuals bear the brunt of their own incompetence.
I’ve never had my identity stolen, but if it happened to me, the first thing I’d do is hire a lawyer to sue every reporting agency that the CC company contacted for credit history information. If the reporting agency were responsible, they would have contacted me and asked for authorization before releasing that information. As far as I’m concerned, a credit reporting agency should not have the right to retain data on me nor to release that data to anyone without my explicit permission. That means checking signatures against known signatures on file, contacting me at known prior addresses/phone numbers, etc. Then, I would follow that by suing the credit card company for similarly failing to properly research the request. When it was all over, my credit history would still be screwed, but at least I’d have gotten enough money out of the dirty scumbags that I wouldn’t have to care.
If a person uses a stolen Social Security number to get a job, I would like to see all FICA contributions made by the employee and employer to remain credited to the identity theft victim, even after the fraud is discovered.
That the victim will someday receive larger Social Security checks would be some consolation. Yes, this measure would have a negative impact on the illegal immigrant population, because few other groups have any reason to use stolen Social Security numbers when applying for a job.