Fraud Threat Rises With HurricaneAssistance

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NEW ORLEANS - (09/16/05) -- Credit unions and banks are hopingfor some support from Congress as they face a new hazard fromfinancial assistance dispersed to victims of Hurricane Katrina, thethreat of increased fraud and identity theft. One of the firstbills expected to be passed by Congress to deal with the spreadingemergency of Katrina is to provide government backing forcounterfeit checks and other financial instruments or those drawnon insufficient funds, as credit unions and banks relax theiridentification standards to aid victims of the massive storm.Another threat has also emerged, "Many plastic cards, statementsand other financial documents were in the mail or already inpersonal mail boxes in the New Orleans areas," Ken Bordelon,president of E FCU, in Baton Rouge, La., told Congress Wednesday."These have a great potential of being stolen or strewn about inthe mess. Those that are in the mail and are being re-routed have agreat potential of getting in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, thisdisaster will likely cause an increase in identity theft tohurricane victims."

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