Identify theft was the subject of discussion during the Phelps County Commission meeting, sparked by a presentation from L&I Risk Management representatives hoping to adopt the county as a client.


Identify theft was the subject of discussion during the Phelps County Commission meeting, sparked by a presentation from L&I Risk Management representatives hoping to adopt the county as a client.
FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, is a federal law that allows consumers to receive one free credit report annually (from each of the three major credit bureaus), and required businesses to show only the final four digits of a credit card on receipts.
Now, an amendment to that legislation known as the Red Flag Rules will hold some businesses accountable for the prevention of identity theft, and sets May 1 as a deadline for businesses considered “creditors” to have an identity theft prevention program in place.
A business is a creditor if it offers deferred payment for goods or services. Financial institutions, utility companies and car companies are all recognized as creditors, according to the federal trade commission Web site.
L&I’s Ryan Kent and Greg Orf told Phelps County Commissioners their company, working in conjunction with PrePaid Legal, would offer free training for county employees for the opportunity to pitch identity theft insurance to all county employees.
“The law requires that you have a security officer in place, to detect, prevent and mitigate damages,” said Kent.
Kent said L&I is licensed in the state of Missouri to provide the necessary training.
Identity theft is not just financial, Kent said. It can involve false entries regarding employment, medical procedures, criminal charges and bank accounts.
“The bad just merges with the good,” said Kent. “And it’s virtually impossible to get cleared up, once it occurs.”
Kent said their program offers 24/7 credit monitoring, and legal help and licensed investigators if an identity theft incident were to occur.
“An average victim of identity theft spends 600 hours trying to fix the problem, and spends $1,500 in out-of-pocket expenses, not including attorney’s fees,” he said.
With their coverage, he continued, L&I and PrePaid Legal would handle it all until the record was clean again.
L&I’s policy for county employees would cost $6 per week, or $25.90 per month, he said.
It would also allow employees to have access to PrePaid Legal attorneys for a variety of other needs, including wills.
County Clerk Carol Bennett reminded commissioners the county had offered enrollment in a PrePaid Legal plan as a payroll deduction 15 years ago, and most employees dropped the coverage within a year.
After more discussion about identify theft, and the swapping of stories of area residents who had been victimized, commissioners thanked Kent and Orf for the information but did not pursue the program.
“We’ll take it under advisement, and we appreciate the education,” said District 2 Commissioner Randy Verkamp. “But January will be taken up with working on the budget.”