*FTC Gives Testimony on Identity Theft

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Calls to the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Hotline have tripled in the last six months, according to a statement made yesterday to a Senate subcommittee.

During a field hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information in Los Angeles, Jeffrey Klurfeld, director of the Western regional office of the FTC, testified that the Identity Theft Hotline averaged more than 1,000 calls per week in July.

Klurfeld also said California residents logged the most number of identity-theft complaints to the FTC hotline, followed by New York and Florida.

Among the California complainants, the types of identity theft reported were 50 percent for credit card fraud; 28 percent for communications services fraud; 17 percent for bank fraud; 10 percent for loan fraud; and 8 percent for government document or benefit fraud.

The statistics for the country as a whole closely resembled those of California.

Other testimony expressed the FTC's support for a Senate bill, the Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2000, S. 2328, which it said would help protect consumers against identity theft.

The FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, 877/ID THEFT, and the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse were established Nov. 1, 1999, as a resource to consumers.

The FTC will hold an identity theft victim assistance, prevention and prosecution workshop Oct. 23-24.

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