President’s Identity Theft Task Force Release Report
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Federal Trade Commission Chairman William E. Kovacic announced this week the release of a report from the President’s Identity Theft Task Force on progress the federal government has made in addressing identity theft since the Task Force’s Strategic Plan was released last year.
Highlights of the report include expansion of the Task Force’s data security and identity theft business and consumer education campaigns; exploring means of improving consumer authentication processes to prevent the use of stolen information to commit identity theft; launching new initiatives to help identity theft victims recover; and improving law enforcement tools to investigate and prosecute identity thieves.
The Strategic Plan, issued in April 2007, outlined 31 recommendations the federal government should undertake to help prevent the theft and misuse of consumers’ personal information, help consumers detect and recover from identity theft, and increase the prosecution and punishment of identity thieves. Following the release of the Strategic Plan, Task Force members worked with others in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to implement the recommendations. Some of the steps detailed in today’s report taken by task force agencies include the following:
Preventing Identity Theft
— Federal agencies have worked to eliminate unnecessary uses of Social
Security numbers (SSNs) in their programs. For example, the Social
Security Administration has removed SSNs almost entirely from its
internal human resources forms. The Department of Defense has issued
a plan to reduce its internal use of SSNs, including their removal
from military ID cards. The Internal Revenue Service has been
redacting taxpayer SSNs to the last four digits on all federal tax
lien documents filed in public records and issued to taxpayers and
— In 2007, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of
Homeland Security alerted all federal Chief Information Officers to
ten common data security risks and noted the best ways to address
them. In addition, the FTC has conducted, and is continuing to
conduct, extensive outreach to other federal agencies to share best
practices and offer guidance on privacy, data security, and incident
— Task Force agencies have conducted policymaking, outreach, and
enforcement initiatives to encourage similar efforts in the private
sector and to educate consumers about identity theft. For example, in
February 2008, the U.S. Postal Service mailed identity theft
protection information to 146 million individuals and businesses.
— The FTC held two public workshops that explored both ways to reduce
the unnecessary uses of Social Security numbers in the private sectors
and possible measures to improve consumer authentication processes and
thus prevent criminals from using stolen personal information to
access existing accounts or open new ones.
Assisting Consumers to Detect and Recover from Identity Theft
— On September 26, 2008 President Bush signed into law a bill that
filled the gaps in previous identity theft laws by ensuring that
victims can recover the value of the time lost attempting to repair
damage inflicted by identity theft, criminalizing additional acts of
identity thieves, and expanding the definition of aggravated identity
— Task Force agencies have conducted training sessions for victim
assistance counselors to ensure that they have the necessary tools to
assist identity theft victims.
— The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance has provided
substantial grants to victim assistance organizations. These
organizations provide direct services to victims, and also serve as
models for other groups.
— The Department of Justice and FTC have coordinated with the American
Bar Association on programs to provide free legal assistance for
Investigating, Prosecuting, and Punishing Identity Thieves
– Law enforcement agencies have successfully prosecuted a number of
cases, including some involving the illegal sale of Social Security
numbers, identity theft related to the health care system, and
identity theft committed in the context of immigration crimes.
— The Department of Justice, FTC, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal
Inspection Service, FBI, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle
Administrators have provided training seminars for more than 900 law
enforcement officers from more than 250 government agencies.
— The Department of Justice has partnered with foreign law enforcement
agencies to enhance investigation and information sharing.
The Task Force report emphasizes that, due to the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of identity theft, the struggle to protect consumers’ personal information will not end with the implementation of the recommendations from the Strategic Plan. Government and the private sector, working together with consumers, must remain vigilant and adaptable as new generations of identity thieves and techniques develop over the coming years.
The Identity Theft Task Force, co-chaired by the Attorney General and the FTC Chairman, was established by Executive Order of the President on May 10, 2006, and is now comprised of 17 federal agencies and departments.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.