Protect Your Personal Information
Stolen or lost personal information such as a social security number, bank account, or a driver’s license number can lead to identity theft. Identity theft is the criminal act of using another person’s private information without consent for some type of financial gain. There are certain laws aimed at preventing identity theft and that protect a consumers’ personal information from being stolen during business transactions and services.
Vendors who record personal information for transactions are required to inform consumers of a security breach and when their information is at risk of being stolen. A security breach is any incident in which someone illegally obtains information or data without permission and bypasses a security system. A security breach of personal information could lead to identity theft. Under the Security Breach Notification Act, consumers must be notified about the risks of fraud, stolen information, and identity theft no later than 45 days after the breach is discovered.
There are also consumer laws that protect a consumers’ personal information from being documented and printed at the time of the transaction. The Truth In Lending Act (TILA) forbids vendors from printing too much personal information on receipts when dealing with electronic forms of payment. Vendors are not allowed to print the expiration date of charge card or more than the last five digits of the card number on a receipt. Many consumers lose receipts and toss them in the garbage. If your personal charge card information was printed on receipts, then there would be a higher risk of identity theft as you throw your receipts away. It is also a violation of federal law, entitling you to damages. Our law firm can help advise you if this happens to you.
If a vendor does want to record personal information, such as a charge card number or social security number, certain requirements must be fulfilled. The information being recorded must be documented for business and collection purposes only. The vendor cannot release any of the personal information to any third parties unless it is for collection or payment purposes. The consumer must also give their consent for the vendor to record any personal information during the transaction. If you are worried your personal information is at risk of being stolen during a transaction, call our free Ask a Lawyer hotline at (614)221-9800 to speak with one of our lawyers about your concerns.