Consumer Protection,
Fraud, and Privacy

Compiled by Joanna Arlow, October 1999

Compendium of State Privacy and Security Legislation: 1997 Overview. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. May 1998. (342.43/X11) Publication’s purpose is to assist legislators and administrators in reviewing contrasting approaches to maintenance and use of criminal records. Includes compilation of administration regulations and tables displaying states’ statutes. Highlights two main issues: requirements on justice agencies to maintain "record quality," and dissemination of criminal information for noncriminal justice purposes. Wisconsin Statutes cited include s.165.83 and 165.84; 946.72; 19.35 and 19.37.

Consumer Fraud and the Elderly: Easy Prey? U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, 102d Congress, 2nd session, September 24, 1992. Serial No. 102-125. (362.7/X36/102-1991) A hearing on unscrupulous practices against the elderly. Includes federal efforts to address this problem via detection, enforcement, prosecution, and education. Includes testimony from victims of scam artists and from U.S. Senators Herb Kohl (WI) and John McCain (AZ), former Wisconsin Deputy Attorney General Patricia J. Gorence; includes memorandum from American Association of Retired Persons and National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators.

Consumer Justice: The Protection Connection. Wisconsin Department of Justice, 1979-1999, 11 parts. (JUS/CP/c; WI state documents collection; does not circulate) Easy to read, made for general public, weekly columns offering tips for consumers on a wide variety of topics. Provides warnings, questions to ask before purchasing, how to protect oneself against unfair tactics. Past topics include: scholarship searches, mail order, and repair shops schemes.

Consumer Protection Programs: Informational Paper #77. David Schug, Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, January 1999. (338.61/W7g) Describes the consumer protection activities of the DATCP and DOJ and programs targeted to investigate complaints of unfair or unlawful treatment of consumers. Appendices describe other states’ efforts at protecting consumers.

Elder Fraud: Financial Crimes Against the Elderly. National Conference of State Legislatures, July 1999.(362.7/N212e) Defines "elder fraud" as the financial exploitation of elder-persons. Examines fraud in the areas of telemarketing, sweepstakes, and home repair. Provides examples of scam artists’ techniques as well as current tactics used by government agencies to combat fraudulent behavior. Useful appendices include tables listing states’ statutes on consumer protection and fraud, a bibliography, and an index of consumer protection organizations.

Health Care Fraud As It Affects the Aging. U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, 103d Congress, 1st session. August 13, 1993. (362.7/X9) Hearing participants include mostly Wisconsin officials: U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russell Feingold, Attorney General James Doyle; and, senior citizen advocates and insurance company administrators. Suggestions for cutting fraud against Medicare include a nationwide coordination of information and greater consumer awareness through the AARP, and a greater commitment of resources to law enforcement. Testimonies express the complicated nature of the health care system making fraud possible, and offer suggestions to cut abuse of administrative procedures and "kickbacks."

In the Balance: State Government and Medical Records Privacy. M. Carol Doeppers, American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, 1998. (342.43/Am3) Report based on questionnaire circulated to 50 state agencies asking how they collect and store information. Warns of erosion of physician-patient privilege through business and government computerized access to records. Useful charts display the study results.

"Internet Privacy." Congressional Quarterly, Incorporated, CQ Researcher, November 6, 1998. (342.43/C762b) Debate over benefits and limits of encryption technology, internet business privacy policies, and the extent of government regulation of the net. Includes discussion of children’s privacy on-line, Europe’s privacy efforts, and recent congressional efforts to pass legislation. Worthwhile bibliography.

Privacy and Health Information Systems: A Guide to Protecting Patient Confidentiality. Janlori Goldman and Deirdre Mulligan, Center for Democracy and Technology, 1996. (342.43/C33) Written to assist designers of electronic health information systems in identifying confidentiality concerns by implementing safeguards for dignity and freedom. Discusses Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Privacy Online: A Report to Congress. U.S. Federal Trade Commission, June 1998. (342.43/X6) Report provides an assessment of the effectiveness of self-regulation in protecting consumer privacy on the Web. Examines industry guidelines and records of commission hearings on the subject since 1995. Also outlines the "core principles" of privacy protection. Extensive appendices include sample survey forms and results, and guidelines for promoting privacy protection for children.

Statement of the Association of American Medical Colleges on Medical Records’ Confidentiality Legislation. David Korn, M.D., Association of American Medical Colleges, 1998. (342.43/As7) AAMC supports efforts by Congress to strengthen protection of individuals’ health information from misuse. Articulates the need to draw a line between maintaining privacy of individuals and the public benefit from controlled access to information for care and medical research. Argues legislative efforts should be directed toward administrative/technical safeguards, including civil and criminal penalties for violations of privacy.

Clippings: (Noncirculating; Available for use in the library; clippings prior to 1981 are on microfiche)


United States

Related Web Sites: Consumer education and protection site providing links to related sites. Web site of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Federal Trade Commission site includes information on privacy, credit checks, and recent FTC actions.

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