Enforcement Actions

 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is aggressively prosecuting companies who do business in Texas for violations of the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act. Through December of 2008, eleven companies have been sued for improperly disposing of customer information in the trash.

Fines during 2008 totalled $2.8 million in Texas alone.

"The defendants are accused of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires the safeguarding and proper destruction of clients' sensitive personal information. Under the law, the Office of the Attorney General has the authority to seek penalties of up to $25,000 per violation of the DTPA and $50,000 per violation of the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.

The Attorney General also cited the defendants with violations of Chapter 35 of the Business and Commerce Code, which requires businesses to develop retention and disposal procedures for their clients' personal information. The law provides for civil penalties of up to $500 for each abandoned record."

Source: Texas Attorney General, News Release, August 1, 2007

 

While electronic schemes (phishing, hacking) make headlines, the FTC and state legislatures have specifically recognized "dumpster diving" for discarded business records as a significant means through which identity theft is committed.1

Moreover, victims of identity theft spend an average of 600 hours over a two to four year period, as well as $1,400.00 or more, trying to clear their names.2 Identity theft also imposes a substantial cost on businesses - in 2002 the total cost of losses to businesses due to identity theft in the United States was estimated at almost $50 billion.3

Civil courts have been even more busy, with over 200 lawsuits having been filed in 2007 seeking class action status for an admittedly technical violation of a FACTA provision which defines how credit card receipts should be printed.

Here are links to the most recent enforcement actions by the Attorney General:

Final Judgement against GAB Robbins North America, Inc.

(insurance claims services)

Final Judgement against Victory Management Services, LLC

Final Judgement, Cornerstone Fitness, 8-12-09

Lawsuit charging a San Antonio Rehab facility (Treatment Associates of Victoria, Inc.)

Petroleum Wholesale, L.P. Convenience Store sued


[1] Tex. C.S.H.B. 698,79th Leg. R.S. (2005) (Committee Report Substituted).
[2] Tex. C.S.H.B. 698,79th Leg. R.S. (2005) (Committee Report Substituted), and Tex. S.B. 122, 79th Leg. R.S. (2005) (Committee Report Unamended).
[3] Id.