Attorney General Andy Beshear and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general are seeking stronger safeguards of federal rules that require certain businesses like banks and credit card companies to detect and prevent identity theft.
The group of 31 attorneys general is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to not only continue the 2007 federal requirements, known as the Identity Theft Rules, but also update them to keep pace with the ingenuity of identity thieves.
The rules require banks and credit card lenders, subject to FTC enforcement authority, to develop and maintain identity theft policies and procedures to detect, prevent and mitigate theft in connection with accounts they offer.
“We have made it clear that the FTC should not repeal these rules because doing so would place account holders, like those in Kentucky, at greater risk of identity theft,” Beshear said. “We are asking the agency to modify the rules so that businesses, organizations and individuals can all do their part to stop these thieves.”
Beshear said the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book indicates that more than 3,000 ID theft reports from Kentuckians were made in 2017, most of which were related to employment or tax fraud, 34 percent, and credit card fraud, 27 percent.
The AGs are calling for a stronger alert system so that account holders, banks and credit card companies are better equipped to detect and stop fraudulent activities, like unauthorized email and physical address changes, as soon as they occur.
The AGs also request that the FTC go beyond requiring a bank or credit card company to use knowledge-based authentication information that asks account holders questions like “what elementary school did you attend” or “what was the name of your first pet.” The AGs note that identity thieves have developed methods to overcome knowledge-based authentication and that stronger multi-factor authentication is needed.
Beshear has tasked two of his offices with helping Kentuckians with identity theft – the Office of Consumer Protection and the Office of Senior Protection and Meditation. Kentuckians may find tips and safeguards to prevent identity theft at the website of the Office of the Attorney General.
Beshear said while Kentuckians need to monitor their banking and credit card accounts, he wants to ensure that the FTC requires stronger, not weaker requirements on businesses to stop fraudulent accounts from being opened and to quickly notify account holders when suspicious activity is detected.
Neighboring AGs joining the push for stronger safeguards are Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia.