Identity theft imperils firearm owners


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PinnedAndRecessed
April 18, 2006, 12:28 AM
“Envision a hypothetical law-abiding Bob Citizen who attempts to purchase a revolver from a local gun shop,” suggests gun law expert John Snyder.

“Imagine further,” he continues, “that when the store clerk runs the necessary criminal records check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Bob Citizen learns his identity has been stolen and he cannot make the purchase.

“His name, date of birth and Social Security Numbers have been used by someone else. He is a victim of identity theft, the fastest growing crime in the United States.”

“This imaginary scenario is bad enough as it is,” says Snyder, “but let’s follow it another step or two. The criminal with a mile-long rap sheet who steals Bob Citizen’s ID uses the good name to purchase a firearm and subsequently misuses it in the commission of a bank robbery, rape or murder.”

“Bob Citizen now faces criminal charges as well as a loss of good reputation.”

Snyder points out that “this is the kind of tragedy with which any law-abiding American gun owner could be confronted. We must ensure that no criminal steals the good name of a law-abiding gun owner in order to purchase a firearm through the NCIC. We ought to support legislative proposals designed to prevent ID thieves from achieving their objectives. Gun owners can support legislation to clamp down on ID theft, to severely penalize perpetrators convicted of ID theft, or to make ID theft itself more difficult.

“One of the measures most worthy of support is the proposed Data Accountability and Trust Act (DATA), H.R. 4127, by Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida. This measure would instruct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate regulations that require each person engaged in interstate commerce that owns or possesses data in electronic form containing personal information to establish and implement policies and procedures regarding information security practices for the treatment and protection of personal information. It would provide for nationwide notice in the event of a security breach. Last month, the Committee on Energy and Commerce voted 41-0 to report it to the full House of Representatives.”

Snyder said, “I urge American gun owners to get behind this bill and ask their own U.S. Representative and both of their U.S. Senators to support it.”

He said also that, “Every law-abiding gun owner in America ought to take appropriate personal steps to prevent ID theft.

“America’s 80 million gun owners can work hand-in-hand with law enforcement against ID theft. By protecting their identity, gun owners could prevent ID thieves from using their good names in a potential attempt to subvert NCIC. There are some basic steps gun owners can take to make it more difficult for thieves to obtain their personal information. Gun owners could learn about these steps and follow them. This could help prevent ID thieves from using gun owners’ names and creating havoc with their financial and court records.”

The FTC has drawn up a list of steps citizens can take to block ID thieves. Following these guidelines, gun owners should not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless they initiate the contact or are sure they know who they are dealing with. ID thieves may pose as representatives of banks, Internet service providers (ISPs) and even government agencies to get gun owners to reveal their Social Security Numbers (SSN), mother’s maiden name, account numbers and other identifying information. Before sharing any personal information, gun owners should confirm they are dealing with a legitimate organization.

Snyder said, “it would be a good idea for America’s gun owners to consult a special FTC web page, http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft, for more information on ID theft and how to prevent it.”


http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/default.cfm?Action=ReleaseDetail&ID=12317

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