Obama unveils new initiative to cut identity theft
The US president steps into the cyberworld
Speaking at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – formed three years ago in response to the 2008 financial crisis – President Obama called identity theft a "heartbreaking" crime that's been robbing Americans of their financial security. Now, moving forward, all government-issued benefits cards will contain a new microchip rather than the widely used black magnetic strips.
The latest cards also will require an individual PIN number to better protect privacy and keep out identity theft and fraud. Putting the initiative in place over the weekend, the president signed an executive order to put in place the security protections for consumers who receive government benefits.
"Identity theft is now America's fastest growing crime. These crimes don't just cost companies and consumers billions of dollars every year; they also threaten the economic security of middle-class Americans who worked really hard for a lifetime to build some sort of security," Obama said. "The idea that somebody halfway around the world could run up thousands of dollars in charges in your name just because they stole your number or just because you swiped your card at the wrong place at the wrong time – that's infuriating. For victims, it's heartbreaking. As a country, we've got to do more to stop it."
Along with his new BuySecure scheme, Mr. Obama also stated that private-sector commitments will battle identity theft, with American retail companies such as Target, Home Depot and others agreeing to use microchips and PIN numbers on cards they now issue. While credit card firms such as American Express have commited millions of dollars to replace old card readers at businesses across the US.