Have you noticed that on your credit card receipts from restaurants, only the last 4 or 5 digits of your credit card number appear? Well, that is part of a recent law designed to help protect you against identity theft. Just think about it, prior to this, every credit card receipt had your full credit card number AND signature!

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 (FACTA) added new sections to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), intended primarily to help consumers fight the growing crime of identity theft. Accuracy, privacy, limits on information sharing, and new consumer rights to disclosure are included in FACTA. (Pub. L. 108-159, 111 Stat. 1952).

Be aware that there are sections of FACTA that deal with employer liability and require that employers take steps to protect employees’ information.

If you perform credit or background checks in the course of employment, you must protect and dispose of that personal information properly. Employees can bring a suit against an employer if he/she feels that their identity was stolen due to negligence of the employer. 

The FTC’s latest FACTA rule requires any business “that maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information, or any compilation of consumer information, derived from consumer reports for a business purpose” to “properly dispose of such information or compilation.” Both FACTA and the new rule are supposed to cut down on the incidences of identity theft by, among other methods, restricting the ability of thieves to go “dumpster diving” for valuable consumer information contained in discarded business records.

One step to providing protection is to implement an Identity Theft Protection program as an additional employee benefit. These programs are essentially a monitoring service that routinely checks a person’s records for signs of impending identity theft and then notifies that person in case of a breach. These plans are available in many different forms, most commonly as an employer sponsored voluntary benefit.