by Larry Lemmons
The City of Amarillo is tightening its ID theft protections.
The identity theft red flags rule is a Federal Trade Commission mandate that requires entities that deal with private accounts to protect them. It becomes effective August 1st, 2009.
The FTC wants a written program and that's what the city has done. The City utility billing department already has safeguards in place but the new program will formalize the process.
The City says a Red Flag is a pattern, practice, or specific activity that indicates the possible existence of identity theft. City utility billing director, Shirley Jones says, "If there's been activity at an address that there's a high bill there we think someone might try to sign up."
There are many things the city is on the lookout for. She says, "Usually we can catch it if someone tries to give us their children's social security number."
The City's primary goal, they say, is keeping your private information safe and ensuring no one else is using your identity to conduct city business.