The Federal Trade Commission plans to study the experiences of identity theft victims by conducting a survey of consumers who contacted the FTC after they were victimized.
The proposed survey will examine the remedies available to victims under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act). Among other things, the FACT Act gave consumers the right to place fraud alerts on their credit files if they are, or suspect they may become, victims of identity theft; block information on their credit reports that resulted from identity theft; and obtain copies of their credit reports free of charge. The survey will seek information from identity theft victims who contacted the FTC between January 1 and May 30, 2008, and will inquire about their experiences when they contacted one or more credit reporting agencies and when they sought to use their FACT Act rights. The survey results will help guide the FTC’s efforts to enforce the law and educate consumers and the consumer reporting industry about their rights and duties.
The study is being carried out pursuant to a recommendation by the President’s Identity Theft Task Force in its Strategic Plan. Information about the Task Force is available at www.idtheft.gov.
On June 24, the Commission approved the publication of a Federal Register notice concerning the collection of information for the proposed survey. The Federal Register notice, which was published on July 1 and is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, will enable the FTC staff to conduct the survey. The FTC invites comments on: (l) whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collections of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collections of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.
The Federal Register notice can be found on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. The Commission is accepting public comments for 60 days after publication. The Commission vote authorizing the publication of the Federal Register notice was 4-0. (The staff contacts are Pavneet Singh and Anthony Rodriguez, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2252.)