Crisis In Financial Privacy Prompts Launch Of FinancialPrivacyNow.org Campaign
By Consumers Union on Monday, September 8th, 2003
For Immediate Release:
September 8, 2003
Rafael Ayuso (512) 477-4431 x114
Effort to Engage Public in Privacy Reform Kicks Off With Web Site Aimed at Congressional Action
Coinciding with the publication of Consumer Reports October cover story on the growing inability of Americans to protect their financial privacy, Consumers Union (CU), the magazine’s independent, non-profit publisher, today announced a new campaign to engage the public in pressuring Congress to take immediate action.
As part of the campaign, CU will launch a new web site on September 8 – www.FinancialPrivacyNow.org – in an effort to help millions of its members and other concerned individuals make their voices heard in Washington.
FinancialPrivacyNow.org will allow users to contact their members of Congress, urging them to strengthen the Fair Credit Reporting Act and uphold state efforts to protect consumers’ financial privacy, fight financial fraud, and curb identity theft. The site will also include a free link to the Consumer Reports story on identity theft, with information on what consumers can do to protect themselves.
One state, California, recently passed the toughest financial privacy law in the country. However, bills currently in Congress do not adequately protect financial privacy and may jeopardize the ability of California and other states to enact strict privacy laws.
“As the Consumer Reports cover story shows, the rapid erosion in our ability to protect our financial privacy has exacerbated related problems like the growing epidemic of identity theft, which last year alone claimed seven million victims in the U.S.,” said Rob Schneider, director of FinancialPrivacyNow.org.
Financial companies now routinely share consumers’ personal information with their affiliates and even outside companies without ever getting permission. As this sensitive financial information is shared and sold, it increases the number of people who have access to it and the number of databases potentially vulnerable to hackers. Consumer Reports’ October story on identity theft cites hackers and insiders stealing information as one way identity thieves are able to carry out their activities.