How will new identity theft rules affect small business?

- Minara El-Rahman is a contributor to FindLaw’s “Free Enterprise” blog. FindLaw is owned by Thomson Reuters. -

Small business owners have new federal requirements to protect against identity theft in their businesses.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that over 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft annually. As a result, the FTC introduced what is known as the “red flags” rule that was slated to be enforced back in November 2009. The so-called red flags rule requires that certain creditors and organizations with covered accounts implement programs that would identify, detect and address warning signs of possible identity theft in the course of business.

According to the FTC, the red flags programs implemented by such businesses must:

    Identify relevant patterns, practices and specific forms of business activity that are “red flags” of possible identity theft.
    Detect those red flags.
    Respond appropriately to any red flags that are detected and help mitigate identity theft of consumers. Update the program periodically in order to ensure that the program is up to date.

This red flags rule initially covered any business or organization that had covered accounts. However, the red flags rule was recently modified on December 31, 2010. SC Magazine reports that the red flags rule has been modified so that lawyers, doctors, and accountants are exempt from having to comply with this rule.

New credit card regulations a big step forward

– Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group, Inc., is a nationally-known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry. The views expressed are his own. —

These new credit card regulations should be viewed as a big step forward… and they are indeed a big step forward for consumers, especially as they are forced to confront the realities of their credit cards.

As these new credit card regulations go into effect, I hope that they will in fact help consumers manage their credit card debt more effectively. Yes, these changes are a step in the right direction, they inform and empower consumers to manage their credit better. But they still don’t replace the importance of ensuring consumers fully understand how credit cards work.

America’s economic recovery lies in the middle market

bonneytom5x5Thomas Bonney is founder and managing director of CMF Associates, a financial consulting, staffing and recruiting firm based in Philadelphia, PA, that serves private equity, middle-market and small-cap public companies nationally. The views expressed are his own.

In his 1988 Republican National Convention acceptance speech, George Bush championed the tradition of the American community, describing it as “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

More than 20 years later, this tradition still forms the core of our country’s strength – particularly the “thousand points of light” that comprise our medium-sized, family- and private-equity owned business community. I believe it is this community that will ultimately drive the tailwind of economic recovery and growth.