The city of Rincon now has an identity theft ordinance, which puts the city in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 2007 Identity Theft Red Flag Rule.
The FTC estimates that 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year, the equivalent of about 17 people every minute.
In Monday night’s meeting, council members approved the second reading of the ordinance that puts into place certain policies that protect consumers from fraud. Although municipalities may not seem like the typical “creditor,” most offer utilities to citizens, extending services under a “covered account.”
In November 2007, the FTC, along with federal bank regulatory agencies and the National Credit Union Administration, issued regulations (the red flag rules) that require financial institutions and creditors to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs, a part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003.
A covered account is an “account used mostly for personal, family or household purposes, and that involves multiple payments or transactions” and “an account for which there is a foreseeable risk of identity theft.”
Rincon’s previous identity theft practices included no electronic bill payments, protection of personal information and destruction of paper work that contained an individual’s private information. However, under the new ordinance, more stringent guidelines will be set for the opening of a new account, accessing current accounts, processing credit card payments and handling personal information.
The FTC originally gave a Nov. 1 deadline to implement the new regulations; however, last week they extended the deadline until May 1, 2009, to allow agencies to “take the appropriate care and consideration in developing and implementing their programs.”
For more information on identity theft or to file an online complaint, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
Council also approved the first reading of a noise ordinance limiting certain activities between 8:01 p.m. and 6:59 a.m.
The law will require organizations to obtain permits when holding an event close to businesses and places such as schools, daycares and/or churches.
Dealing with barking dogs will also be included in the noise ordinance. The second reading of the ordinance will be up for vote on the Dec. 8 agenda.