WASHINGTON - Attorney General Alberto R.
Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah
Platt Majoras today announced the completion of the
President's Identity Theft Task Force strategic plan to
combat identity theft.
The strategic plan is the result of an unprecedented
federal effort to formulate a comprehensive and fully
coordinated plan to attack this widespread and
destructive crime. The plan focuses on ways to improve
the effectiveness of criminal prosecutions of identity
theft; enhance data protection for sensitive consumer
information maintained by the public sector, private
sector, and consumers; provide more comprehensive and
effective guidance for consumers and the business
community; and improve recovery and assistance for
"Identity theft is a crime that goes far beyond the loss
of money or property," said Attorney General Gonzales.
"It is a personal invasion, done in secret, that can rob
innocent men and women of their good names. The
strategic plan we are releasing today is part of a
comprehensive effort to fight this crime, protect
consumers, and help victims put their lives back
"Identity theft is a blight on America's privacy and
security landscape," said FTC Chairman Majoras.
"Identity thieves steal consumers' time, money, and
security, just as sure as they steal their identifying
information, and they cost businesses enormous sums. The
Strategic Plan submitted to the President provides a
blueprint for increased federal prevention and
Although much has been done to combat identity theft,
the specific recommendations outlined in the Strategic
Plan - from broad policy changes to small steps - are
necessary to wage a more effective fight against
identity theft and reduce its incidence and damage.
Highlights of the recommendations include the following:
' Reduce the unnesessary use of Social Security numbers
by federal agencies, the most valuable commodity for an
' Establish national standards that require private
sector entities to safeguard the personal data they
compile and maintain and to provide notice to consumers
when a breach occurs that poses a significant risk of
' Implement a broad, sustained awareness campaign by
federal agencies to educate consumers, the private
sector and the public sector on methods to deter, detect
and defend against identity theft; and
' Create a National Identity Theft Law Enforcement
Center to allow law enforcement agencies to coordinate
their efforts and information more efficiently, and
investigate and prosecute identity thieves more
The Task Force's recommendations also include several
legislative proposals designed to fill the gaps in
current laws criminalizing the acts of many identity
thieves, and ensure that victims can recover the value
of the time lost attempting to repair damage inflicted
by identity theft. These proposals include the following
' Amending the identity theft and aggravated identity
theft statutes to ensure that identity thieves who
misappropriate information belonging to corporations and
organizations can be prosecuted;
' Adding new crimes to the list of offenses which, if
committed by identity thieves in connection with the
identity theft itself, will subject those criminals to a
two-year mandatory sentence available under the
"aggravated identity theft" statute;
' Broadening the statute that criminalizes the theft of
electronic data by eliminating the current requirement
that the information must have been stolen through
' Amending existing statutes to assure the ability of
federal prosecutors to charge those who use malicious
spyware and keyloggers; and
' Amending the cyber-extortion statute to cover
additional, alternate types of cyber-extortion.
The plan was released at an authentication workshop
which resulted from an earlier recommendation of the
Task Force. In addition to the release of the Task
Force's Strategic Plan, a Web site was launched today,
IDTheft.gov, which contains the full Strategic Plan, and
will eventually serve as clearinghouse for educational
Resources for consumers, businesses, and law enforcement
on ways to prevent and detect identity theft, and help
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.
The Task Force will continue its work over the coming
months, and play a central role in the implementation of
the Strategic Plan.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.