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NAF Association Members Learn How to Combat Identity Theft

December 17, 2003

More than 40 people, mostly members of the National Automotive Finance Association (NAF Association), attended a one-day forum, "Identity Theft in Automotive Financing," held recently

in Dallas.

A legal panel made up of Larry Young, partner, Hughes, Watters & Askanase, LLP; Robert Curtis, partner, Curtis Hinton PLC; and David Szwak, partner, Bodenheimer, Jones, Szwak & Winchell, LLP, discussed appropriate existing and new laws.

Young provided a comprehensive review of pertinent case law and federal legislation, including the new privacy and identity theft

provisions of the recently renewed Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). He also summarized judicial interpretations of FCRA and other topical litigation, the recently enacted Texas State Privacy legislation and shared his views on proposed federal privacy legislation.

Curtis spoke on the federal preemption of California identity theft laws and discussed California's Financial Information Privacy

Act (FIPA), the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act and the effects of FCRA on state laws.

As plaintiff counsel, Szwak has handled numerous cases and has been able to win large recoveries for victims of identity theft. He explained his tactics, exposed the vulnerability of creditors and credit reporting agencies and provided insight into shoring up operational procedures.

Doug Elbein, director, Federal Trade Commission, Southwest Region, spoke about the FTC's role in monitoring the growing problem of identity theft and how both customers and creditors can guard

against becoming victims. He explained the difficulties that consumer victims have in clearing their credit records and the need for creditors and credit reporting agencies to work together to help resolve individual cases of identity theft. Elbein provided statistics on the rapid growth of identify theft crime and the role of the FTC as the national clearinghouse for victims.

R. L. Smith, chief investigator, cyber crimes unit, Office of the Texas Attorney General, provided insight on the identification, apprehension and prosecution of identity theft criminals. Smith had practical recommendations on where to report the criminal activity and what kind of information a creditor should gather to assist in the apprehension of criminals.

The program concluded with John Dibble, vice president of intermediary risk and operational oversight, Citi-Group Auto Division, who spoke about internal procedures and best practices that

protect institutions from becoming victims.

The next forum is being developed by the NAF Association Education Committee and will be held in March 2004. The NAF Association's 8th Annual Non-Prime Auto Financing Conference is scheduled for June 16-18, 2004, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel in Chicago.

For more information on the National Automotive Finance Association, visit

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