04 November 2003

ID theft center planned

ID theft center planned: "Washington -- Victims of identity theft who do business with the nation's 100 biggest financial institutions will have a one-stop center to help alert their creditors to the crime, under a program Wells Fargo & Co. announced Tuesday.

Wells Fargo's announcement of the Identity Theft Assistance Center came as the Senate prepared to open debate on new legislation that would gut part of California's new financial privacy law.

The measure proposes to override the state's law blocking financial institutions from sharing customers' information with affiliated companies without the customers' permission.

Consumer groups and California's two senators, Democrats Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, say that such data sharing feeds the growing crime of ID theft, a charge the financial industry contests.

The proposed renewal of the fair credit reporting law before Congress would extend the existing federal pre-emption against California's financial privacy safeguards. Proponents of the federal legislation say it will help make consumer loans more available and includes several provisions to strengthen federal ID theft laws.

'The Identity Theft Assistance Center will offer a single point of contact for victims of identity theft and transfer information to law enforcement,'' said Timothy Muris, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission."

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