state of California has more than 250 agencies,
departments, commissions, and boards, many of
which provide useful information and
living-strategies to the people of California. The
agencies may be untapped resources for librarians
fielding patron questions.
help our readers maneuver around the state of
California’s services, we are making “State
Spotlight” a regular feature in CSL Connection.
In each issue, the “Spotlight” will
highlight one service-based agency whose
web-links, toll-free phone numbers, information
charts, and referrals inform the general public.
of Consumer Affairs-Office of Privacy Protection
today’s digital culture, our numbers–birth
date, drivers license, social security and so
on–have evolved into maps to our assets and
credit, to where we live and work–to who we are.
California is the first state to have an agency
dedicated to promoting and protecting the privacy
rights of consumers. The Office
of Privacy Protection, within the
Department of Consumer Affairs, offers members of
the public practical information on how to protect
to Frightening Questions
Office of Privacy Protection (OPP) is, according
to Chief Joanne McNabb, one of the only places in
California that consumers can go for help and
answers about identity theft, unwanted phone
calls, emails and mail, privacy practices, and
financial and medical privacy.
percent of the people who call the OPP’s
toll-free number (866) 785-9663 want to know how
stop criminals from opening credit in their name.
The OPP’s callers’ wallets have been stolen or
they have replied to a “phishing” email, phony
“alerts” from banks asking to verify account
data. Fifteen percent of the Office’s callers
have already been victimized.
staff gives callers steps such as alerting people
of fraud on credit files, freezing files and
contacting creditors and law enforcement, to
protect themselves. “Identity theft is an
indiscriminate crime,” McNabb says. “It can
affect old, young, people with good credit and bad
credit–anyone with a Social Security number.”
McNabb’s biggest tip to consumers is “Don’t
give out personal information unless you
initiated the contact.”
who go to the OPP
site will find “Consumer Information
“ sheets. Libraries can use the sheets as
brochures, some of which are available in multiple
languages. The “Consumer Information “ sheets
are: Your Financial Privacy, Identity Theft
Victim Check List; Your Social Security Number:
Controlling the Key to Identity Theft; Leave Me
Alone: How to Slow the Flow of Unwanted
Patient Privacy Rights-A Consumer Guide to Health
Information Privacy in California; How to Use the
California Identity Theft Registry-A Guide for
Victims of "Criminal" Identity Theft;
Protecting Your Child's Privacy Online; How to
"Freeze" Your Credit Files.
more information, contact the Office of Privacy
on at (866) 785-9663
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.