FEDERAL LAW

It is imperative for victim service providers, advocates, and professionals to be cognizant of the federal laws that may impact the victims or clientele they are assisting.

Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act

Establishes identity theft as a Federal Crime with penalties. This law also verifies that the person whose identity was stolen is a true victim.

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Establishes aggravated identity theft, when a defendant “knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person” during and in relation to any felony violation of certain enumerated federal offenses.

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Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act

This act amends 18 U.S.C. § 3663(b) to make it clear that restitution orders for identity theft cases may include an amount equal to the value of the victim’s time spent re-mediating the actual or intended harm of the identity theft or aggravated identity theft. The new law also allows federal courts to prosecute when the criminal and the victim live in the same state. Under previous law, federal courts only had jurisdiction if the thief uses interstate communication to access the victim’s personally identifiable information.

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Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. Defines a consumer’s rights regarding the information in their files.

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Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)

A consumer-rights law whose primary purpose is to reduce the risk of identity theft through regulation of how consumer account information is handled. This Act, amending the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), adds provisions designed to improve the accuracy of consumers’ credit-related records.

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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

Prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices in attempting to collect on a debt owed. Defines consumer rights such as seeking validation of a debt, disputing a debt, and harassment.

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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)

Prohibits accessing a computer without authorization, or in excess of authorization. Defines the following criminal activities:

  • Obtaining national security information
  • Accessing a computer and obtaining information
  • Trespassing in a government computer
  • Accessing a computer to defraud & obtain value
  • Intentionally damaging by knowing transmission
  • Recklessly damaging by intentional access
  • Negligently causing damage & loss by intentional access
  • Trafficking in passwords
  • Extortion involving computers
  • Attempt and conspiracy to commit such an offense

Click here to view the full language of the statute. 

Unlawful Access to Stored Communications

Protects the privacy of stored electronic communications, either before such a communication is transmitted to the recipient, or, if a copy of the message is kept, after it is delivered.

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Access Device Fraud

Defines fraud and related activity in connection with access devices (any card, account number, personal identification number, or other means of account access that can be used) to to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds (other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument).

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Wire Fraud

Prohibits any individual from defrauding, attempting to defraud, or obtain money or property under fraudulent pretenses via the transmission of wire, radio, or television communication. The crime is broken down into four essential elements:

(1) that the defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money;

(2) that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud;

(3) that it was reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used; and

(4) that interstate wire communications were in fact used

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act puts limits on the disclosure of educational records maintained by agencies and institutions that receive federal funding.

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Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

This act includes a Financial Privacy Rule, which requires financial institutions to provide consumers with a privacy notice when the consumer relationship is established and annually thereafter. The privacy notice must explain what information the institution collects about the consumer, where that information is shared, how it is used, and how that information is protected. The notice must also identify the consumer’s right to opt out of the information being shared with unaffiliated parties and notify him or her if the privacy policy changes.

Click here to view the full language of this statute. 

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Imposes limits on disclosures of personal information in records maintained by state departments of motor vehicles.

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Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

This privacy rule regulates the security and confidentiality of patient information. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a final Security Rule in February 2003, which sets national standards for protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information.

Click here to view the full language of the statute.