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FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez speaks at National Consumers League event on identity theft

Speaking at a National Consumers League event on identity theft, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said Thursday that more can be done by the private sector and government to protect consumers and businesses from identity theft.

“It’s clear to me that we need to do more,” said Ramirez, who called for the government to make sure “small and medium sized companies know what they need to do and really understand the importance of data security.”

Chairwoman Ramirez was joined by former FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras in giving keynote remarks at the event yesterday. Majoras served as founding co-chair of President George W. Bush’s Identity Theft Task Force from 2006-2008, leading a major campaign by the federal government to address the growing threat of ID theft.

The two officials joined experts in consumer protection and data security to discuss the growing problem of identity theft, which affected 12.6 million Americans in 2012. Fraud and identity theft have topped the list of FTC consumer complaints for 13 straight years. Although policymakers have taken strides to cut the incidence of these online crimes, the threat remains: every three seconds, a new American becomes a victim of identity theft.

“This event helped to focus attention on the continuing challenge of protecting consumers from identity theft,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “Government at all levels, along with law enforcement, have taken steps to help protect consumers from identity theft, but more must be done. We thank Chairwoman Ramirez and former Chairwoman Majoras for joining us to discuss the task of protect consumers from identity thieves and online fraud.”

The event coincided with the release of a new National Consumers League policy paper entitled “The State of Identity Theft in 2013.” The policy paper, authored by John Breyault, NCL’s Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud, discusses the measures that have been put in place to protect consumers, and puts forward specific policy recommendations to improve identity theft protections for the future.

“We have taken important steps over the past 15 years to help protect consumers from identity theft,” said Breyault. “But policymakers, advocates and the general public must work to stay ahead of identity thieves and reduce the risk of identity theft. We hope this week’s discussions will be an impetus for further action against online identity thieves.”

Watch a video of the event on the National Consumer League’s YouTube channel.

About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

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