Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 2, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Identity Theft: HORIZON Special Report "Fight Back Against Identity Theft"


  • In the final part of the special series report on identity theft, "Horizon" looks at consumers protecting themselves from becoming victims. It involves more than shredding documents and checking credit reports.
Guests:
  • Bob Stump - State Representative
  • Beth Shapiro - a member of the group Hadassah


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "HORIZON," we wrap up our series on identity theft. Tonight, protecting ourselves from becoming victims involves more than shredding documents and checking our credit reports. What we can do to fight back. Plus, stem cell and cloning research are controversial topics. At issue, should the state legislature support or restrict stem cell research? That's next on "HORIZON."

>> Announcer:
"HORIZON" is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to ""HORIZON." Those stories in just a moment. First, a bill originally crafted to protect people who unintentionally carried concealed weapons into restricted areas was killed today by the very lawmaker who introduced it. Representative Doug Quelland of Phoenix pronounced his bill dead one day after it received preliminary approval by the house, saying it went too far and became a gun bill. British computer specialist Babar Ahmad is being held in London on charges he ran terrorist fund raising web sites and tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Arizona. A report by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Appleton detailed that Ahmad met in Phoenix in 1998 with Islamic radicals who claimed to have ties to Osama Bin Laden. There was no evidence in the report that Ahmad successfully set up the Arizona camp. This morning, local members of Hadassah, an international Jewish women's group, gathered their forces at the Arizona State Capitol to lobby in support of stem cell research. In a moment, we'll talk to a member of Hadassah and a state lawmaker who is critical of stem cell research. First, Mike Sauceda reports on today's events.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Are there people that do not have a packet, a green folder?

>> Mike Sauceda:
Beth Shapiro of the Valley of the Sun chapter of Hadassah, the largest women's organization in the world, helping train some 100 volunteers this morning as they set off to lobby Arizona lawmakers.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Be a good listener.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Hadassah is a Jewish women's group and is a developer and proprietor of six of the world's viable stem cell lines. They are lobbying 46 states last month. Hadassah decided to lobby on the state level after President Bush cut funding for stem cell research on the national level.

>> Fredi Brown:
Today a hundred of our volunteer members have joined us to lobby for an issue that Hadassah is doing across the nation, about 46 of the 50 state legislatures are being visited today by Hadassah women, and we're lobbying for the passage of bills for embryonic stem cell research.

>> Hadassah member:
Our purpose here today is to educate the legislatures. We hope to at least change their opinion about stem cell research.

>> Hadassah member:
Except that embryo is a hot word and egg is not, so it would be clearer and less likely to institute an emotional response if we use the word "egg" preferably.

>>Mike Sauceda:
After getting their questions answered, the volunteers were ready to lobby lawmakers on bills.

>> Hadassah member:
It's good to see you guys back again this year. Good to see you.

>>Mike Sauceda:
There are several bills alive in the legislature regarding cloning or stem cell research. One would prohibit state funding for human cloning. Another would not allow small businesses that participate in human cloning to take a certain tax credit. Another would stop universities from getting a profit from companies doing stem cell research. Two would set up study committees on stem cell research.

>> Chuck Gray:
If you are against cloning, then -- I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to have two Chuck Grays running around down here.

>>Mike Sauceda:
One bill that got held up would have asked voters to change the constitution to prohibit human cloning in Arizona. It was sponsored by Representative Chuck Gray of Mesa. He got a visit from several Hadassah members today.

>> Hadassah member:
What we are talking about here is semantic cell nuclear transfer.

>> Chuck Gray:
I always try to make myself available and accessible to the public. I mean, that's my job is to represent the public, and I think it's my duty to understand their view so I can reflect the sentiments of the community. I think that at least in my district, that probably won't change my mind a lot, but I will at least come to understand their point of view.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now to talk about stem cell research, State Representative Bob Stump, and Beth Shapiro, a member of the group Hadassah. Welcome to you both.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Thank you.

>> Bob Stump:
Thank you, Mike.

>> Michael Grant:
Beth, incredibly complicated subject and not a lot of time. So let me start with this. Why is Hadassah so strongly in favor of stem cell research?

>> Beth Shapiro:
Well, let me say that Hadassah was the second medical organization in the world to derive embryonic stem cells. It currently owns 6 of the 15 remaining viable stem cell lines that are left in the world, so, of course, that's important. Hadassah has as its mission to cure and heal people, and the belief is that these particular cells will just absolutely save so many lives, millions of lives. In this country there are 100 million people that are suffering terribly, and the hope is in five to ten years when embryonic stem cells are available for transplantation into humans, that we will see the curative benefits. The stem cells themselves are renewable. They are undifferentiated, and we also believe that there is a concern by some that these embryos are considered life and at least under Jewish law, the fertilized embryo is not considered to be a human life until after the 40th day of fertilization. We feel that we are --

>> Michael Grant:
It seems to me that one of the complicating issues here -- you certainly have people who are opposed to stem cell research at all -- but one of the complicating issues here is government's involvement in it if Hadassah or other private organizations want to carry it forward, then carry it forward, but you get into a mass of other issues when you say, yes, but the federal government, the state government, local governments whatever the case may be, should support it. Is there merit to that? I mean, why don't we just leave government out of it and the research can progress as research in a number of areas progresses.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Some research certainly is funded privately. I think we believe that we will probably need to engage in public-private partnering because it will require significant financial contributions from both sides to make this a successful therapy and treatment. The government, I think, has a stake in it because ultimately we will see tremendous benefit; for example, with organ transplantation currently in this country we have 90,000 plus people waiting for organs. When they do receive an organ, the government in, say, a situation where a person is accepting Medicare, the transplant is paid by Medicare, the anti-rejection drugs on a monthly basis can be thousands of dollars for the person's lifetime.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Stump, let me draw you in. Yours is one of the bills that would prohibit any government of funding cloning and stem cell research.

>> Bob Stump:
Just cloning, actually.

>> Michael Grant:
Why is that a good idea? Would that prohibit government funding of stem cell research?

>> Bob Stump:
I would not prohibit government funding of stem cell research. It would prohibit government funding of therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. And really my rationale in introducing the bill was that I didn't feel my constituents should be complicit in a process in which human life is regarded as a natural resource to be harvested like a field of wheat or a field of sugarcane. I think we run the risk of being very cavalier about the value of human life, and I think we run the risk of undermining the very foundation of moral prudence, which is informed genetic research, that being that maybe a human embryo is not a person, but it is not a thing to be experimented upon without ethical guidelines whatsoever.

>> Michael Grant:
There have been many moral arguments that have been advanced against many scientific developments, including but not limited to, Galileo had a rough time second half of his life. We now back look on that and we chuckle. Do you think we'll look back in 30, 50 years on this subject and chuckle because people didn't want to get involved in this subject?

>> Bob Stump:
I fear we won't be chuckling, actually, I fear we may be shuddering. Dr. Leon Kass who said of President Bush's council on bio ethics, has written very eloquently about the subject of human cloning. He feels that not only is it ineffective but it is very morally problematic and I'd be happy to go into the reasons as to why it is. Some people have made the distinction saying, well, we can use embryos left over from IBF clinics. Somehow that's morally acceptable. It's very important to note that embryonics --

>> Michael Grant:
At fertilization clinics, the couple will not use all of those?

>> Bob Stump:
Right. But that argument is problematic as well because if you look at the moral logic of that argument, you could apply that to prisoners on death row, for instance. They are going to die anyway, and by that token, I think it's very important to distinguish between embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning. I think the latter is a greater danger of what it means to be human in a modern age than embryonic stem cell research per se.

>> Michael Grant:
Beth, here is the flip concern. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of examples where we know -- humans know how to do things a lot sooner than we know whether to do things and what the consequences are and where this is going to go. There is a lot of thoughtful concern about whether or not this is going to lead down some paths and open Pandora's boxes that we're going to look back and say gosh, I wish we hadn't done that.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Well, first of all, the embryos donated by invitro-fertilization couples are the only way we do this research. Currently, if they are not being used for research, when a couple who has donated the eggs no longer wants those eggs, they are discarded as medical waste. So ---

>> Michael Grant:
Right.

>> Beth Shapiro:
So we feel that's also very disrespectful of life, and we'd like to use those, given the couple's permission.

>> Michael Grant:
And we're smart enough to do it, but are we wise enough to do it?

>> Beth Shapiro:
I think you have to look to other states to see what's going on around us. California, California has just passed a $3 billion stem cell initiative. New Jersey now has the same thing, both embryonic stem cell and nuclear transfer, which is misleadingly called therapeutic cloning, as is Wisconsin and New York, and many other states. So what's going on is the other states around us are enticing the top researchers to get involved in their biotech area.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Stump, we're out of time. What's the status of your bill, though, in terms of where it is and where it's moving?

>> Bob Stump:
It's passed the house, 41-19. It's in the senate. And I'm hopeful the Governor will sign it. I think this is a good compromise and so I remain hopeful.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. Representative Bob Stump, thank you very much for joining us. Beth Shapiro, our thanks to you as well.

>> Michael Grant:
Have you ever left your mail in your mailbox for more than a day? Do you carry your Social Security card in your wallet? Have you ever left your bank statement sitting on your kitchen countertop? If so, identity theft experts say you are leaving yourself open to ID theft by not taking some simple steps to protect yourself. In a moment, more on those and other steps. First, Merry Lucero has a story about a man whose financial information was stolen but has avoided having his identity taken as well.

>>Merry Lucero:
When you apply for a mortgage, you must hand over all of your personal financial information and hope it's safe. So when attorney Chuck Jirauch got a letter from his mortgage broker, it came as a shock.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
The letter advised us that their office had been broken into, and that the only thing that had been taken was the hard drive off of their computer, and so clearly somebody was trying to get access to the information about the borrowers that they had been representing, and that we were one of the borrowers that was on their computer system.

>>Merry Lucero:
Social Security numbers, bank accounts, investments, 401(k) plans, all of his family's financial information was now in the hands of potential identity thieves.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
You read about this all the time happening, but you never think it'll happen to you. And that was my first reaction. This can't be possible. How could this happen, and you just have to get over that and recognize it has and do something about it.

>>Merry Lucero:
So Jirauch jumped into action. First, he got a copy of his mortgage application so he knew what information the thieves had. He called all three credit bureaus and advised them what had happened. He called his credit card companies and bank accounts to change all of his account numbers. Jirauch also had automatic withdrawals from his checking account redirected to his new account. He kept a record of everyone he spoke with, plus the date and time of the call, one thing that really helped Jirauch avoid becoming an identity theft victim, his records were all together and organized.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
It was a lot of work. And that was just the beginning. I mean, then I had to get a hold of investment accounts, my employer, where they had information on my 401(k), my retirement funds and things of that nature, that if anybody made any inquiries to them about my accounts to immediately advise me, not to answer any questions, told the same thing to the banks, same thing to the investment groups that we worked with.

>>Merry Lucero:
This type of situation is out of our control.

>> Sgt. Jason Davis:
He could do everything right. He can shred all of his documents. He can make sure his doctor's office shreds their documents, but all it takes is a burglary at his mortgage office and his information has been compromised.

>>Merry Lucero:
But there are things we can do to protect themselves.

>> Paul Charlton:
Any time someone asks you for bank account information, they are asking for your money. When they are asking for your Social Security number, they are asking for your money, essentially. So you need to think about those items in that way. And when you do, when you think about your identification as you would money, it's easy to see how it is you can be much more careful and treat with greater caution that kind of information. So, for example, your mailbox, you need to put some kind of a locking device on the mailbox or ask that the post office to provide more security at the post boxes that they use in apartments, for example, and they are providing those now. Whenever you receive e-mails soliciting information, think about that information in the same way that you would as if you were providing them with money. Whenever you receive correspondence from somebody asking that you respond by providing information, think about it just as you would if you were giving away something of great value.

>> Andrew Thomas: These send out spam E-mail that impersonates banks or other financial or other institutions and asks for financial information including Social Security numbers from the recipients of the E-mail and sometimes people are led to give that information. Viewers should know they should not do that if they don't recognize the person sending the information.

>> Terry Goddard:
You don't really know who is on the other end of that phone, just because they say they are with your bank doesn't necessarily mean that's true. So you insist on a call back, or you insist on written confirmation that this in fact is what you think it is. That level of suspicion, which certainly in our sort of instant turnaround society is not necessarily what people are always doing or expecting. I still think that's the number one thing that we need to have. It's a protective armor for consumers, a suspicion, if you will, that is highly justified in today's financial environment. And then to facilitate that, I would recommend a shredder to take anything that comes into your house or which you would be disposing of that has certainly your Social Security number on it, your name address and phone number, your -- any identifying data. It needs to be shredded.

>>Merry Lucero:
If you don't own a shredder yet, get one. Strip Cut gives some protection. Cross Cut gives more. Depending on what you want to spend and how much you shred, office supply stores offer a full range.

>> Mike Hiller:
If you're the type who saves it up for a month, and it's all your junk mail and you sit down at one time to shred it, you are going to need a much heavier duty shredder. If you are the type of person that will actually shred it as you get it, then you know, mid-range shredder, running in the $69-$99 is going to be fine for you.

>>Reporter:
And don't forget to shred expire credit cards and old CDs with information. Chuck Jirauch's ID is intact. In the meantime, he checks his credit reports and watches for anything suspicious on his accounts.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
Every month when our statements come in for all of the accounts that we have, we review them to be sure that there is nothing on there that's unusual. So far, knock on wood, that hasn't happened.

>> Michael Grant:
Here to talk more about the things we can do to fight identity theft is Fred Ferguson. He is the chairman of the Arizona Bankers Association fraud committee, and Lupe Solis, Associate State Director of Advocacy for the AARP. You know, Fred, what happened to Chuck there, that's just a nightmare, because a mortgage application contains just everything on it.

>> Fred Ferguson:
The real problem with identity theft is the nightmare that you go through trying to turn everything back around to get things back to normal. It can take years for some people to go through the entire process of getting everything back the way it should have been and out from under the obligations of debt that can accumulate on your credit reports.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, the mortgage company involved there, I think, had its computer hard drive stolen and that's how the information got out. They notified him of that. Is there a requirement, though, that a mortgage company, a financial institution, notify you if it thinks your personal data has been breached?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Well, I don't believe in the mortgage company case there is. Financial institutions for the most part will do that, but no, there's no specific law in Arizona that right now requires any business to notify the public if there is a breach. They don't always know if the breach has been caused by a method that would really create those records to be duplicated or not. I mean, sometimes breach of information can be a simplistic reason that is not going to turn out to be bad, but there is no law currently.

>> Michael Grant:
Should there be a law that would require -- and again, I mean, I think you don't want to alarm people unnecessarily, but let's say you're pretty sure that the information has gotten out, should there be a requirement of notification?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Yeah, there was -- I believe there is a bill in front of the senate right now that speaks to that.

>> Michael Grant:
I think so.

>> Fred Ferguson:
And it's probably a good idea.

>> Michael Grant:
Okay. Lupe, one of the things that he did there was check his credit report. First, how do you go about that?

>> Lupe Solis:
It's actually become easier, as you probably know. A credit company or the credit bureaus are supposed to issue you a free credit report. You can call any of the three existing ones. I'm sure you probably have the numbers -- I don't have them with me, but you can call and request and you should.

>> Michael Grant:
We have information on the web site.

>> Lupe Solis:
The problem is seniors, very often, they are paying for a lot of things cash. They are not going through an application of any form, so they tend to think that they are safe, but the reality is that you it can happen any way, including on line, as you know, but I think one of the things we want to make sure that people understand is that ID theft happens in a number of ways, not just through the networks and computer ID theft, but also on line, and also from family members. So it's important to destroy vital information by throwing it away.

>> Michael Grant:
And you also want to keep a good filing system in terms of the information that you have?

>> Lupe Solis:
You certainly do. You want to know where your information is, and as you were joking before, so that the thief can come and get it all out, but we don't really want that, but we want these for people to know what information they have and where it is, so that they can access it in case you need to, and also, because as you well know, there is a lot of theft that just happens. They'll pick your wallet. The intent is not to get the money in the wallet; the intent is to get the other information there that would lead them to greater loss.

>> Michael Grant:
Fred, when I got my credit report, what would I look for on there to detect if there is a problem?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Well, typically you want to look to see if there are any credit accounts that are established that you don't have. In other words, a credit card that shows up on your report that you don't have. You want to see if there are specific charges. There may be loans on your credit report, which you don't have. It's quite common nowadays as a matter of fact, loans are one of the big areas where they are getting into identity theft and they'll go in and take out a loan in your name because you've got good credit rating, and they'll use a different address, so that the statements for that loan are being sent someplace else, so you are never aware that there was a loan taken out and eventually they'll default on that loan, they won't pay anything back, and that winds up being on your credit report.

>> Michael Grant:
If you do detect a problem, there are some self-help remedies with credit reporting agencies, and they have some obligations, do they not, if you notify them to investigate an entry and do things to try to ascertain that it's correct or if not, remove it if its incorrect?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Absolutely, they have to investigate it. Plus, if you find something like that, you can ask them to put an alert on your credit report, which will basically notify all businesses that if they are going to establish credit with this person, they should contact that person first. You can give them, for example, a cell phone number that they can put on your credit report, that the businesses then can call you on that cell phone and say, hey, you know, we've got an application for a credit card, did you make this application, is this really you, or we've got a loan for a car, is this really you that's asking to borrow the money.

>> Michael Grant:
They are required to flag that so someone subsequently checking would be alerted to do what you just described?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Exactly. If you call any one of the three credit bureaus, they are required to notify the other two credit bureaus. You can put a temporary alert on which stays on for about 90 days, or you can put an extended alert on, which stays on for seven years. So depending upon whether you think your identity has been stolen or you know it's been stolen, if you just think maybe your purse was stolen, then it's a good idea to put a temporary alert on for 90 days. If nothing shows up within that 90 days, then chances are nobody who intended to steal your identity wound up with your purse. They may have taken the money out of the wallet and forgot about the credit cards.

>> Michael Grant:
Is it important, Lupe, to report it to the police?

>> Lupe Solis:
It certainly is. We do know through some recent surveys that the loss of identity theft, when it happens through a paper trail is a lot larger than it is when it's on the Internet, but I do like to make another point and that is on the Internet, when people receive a request for an update of information that looks extremely legitimate, you know, the good site and whatever, possibly related to a business that you are familiar with, they are asking you to update your information on line, don't do it, a legitimate business will not ask you to do that. And so we want people to be suspicious as attorney general Goddard says. It's okay in this business to be suspicious, and you should be.

>> Michael Grant:
And it's the kind of thing where sometimes it can look really official and --

>> Lupe Solis:
Exactly.

>> Michael Grant:
You shouldn't do it.

>> Lupe Solis:
You should not do it. I myself received one from Citibank, and recently there was one on the FBI asking you to update information. Well, the FBI would probably come to the door if they really wanted you. So don't fall for it.

>> Michael Grant:
Yeah, I think there is probably some Justice Department regulations on that. Lupe Solis, thank you very much for joining us. Fred Ferguson, we appreciate your input as well.

>>> Michael Grant:
For more about identity theft and what the series is covering, go to www.azpbs.org, click on the identity theft companion web site. You'll see links, advice on how to avoid becoming a victim, what you should do if you are one, and other related information. On the web site, you can also see what's coming up on "HORIZON." Tomorrow, Governor Janet Napolitano will join us on "HORIZON." You can send us a question for the Governor via E-mail at horizon@asu.edu. Here's a look at what the Governor will discuss.

>>Mike Sauceda:
The legislature is dealing with several hot issues, among them, a bill that would allow pharmacists to deny prescriptions if they have a moral or religious objection. Another bill will prohibit state funding of human cloning. We'll talk about to Governor Janet Napolitano on those issues and more Thursday at 7:00 on channel 8's "HORIZON" program.

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks very much for joining us this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one, good night.


stem cell bills


  • stem cell and cloning research are controversial topics. At issue, should the state legislature support or restrict stem cell research?
Guests:
  • Bob Stump - State Representative
  • Beth Shapiro - a member of the group Hadassah


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "HORIZON," we wrap up our series on identity theft. Tonight, protecting ourselves from becoming victims involves more than shredding documents and checking our credit reports. What we can do to fight back. Plus, stem cell and cloning research are controversial topics. At issue, should the state legislature support or restrict stem cell research? That's next on "HORIZON."

>> Announcer:
"HORIZON" is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to ""HORIZON." Those stories in just a moment. First, a bill originally crafted to protect people who unintentionally carried concealed weapons into restricted areas was killed today by the very lawmaker who introduced it. Representative Doug Quelland of Phoenix pronounced his bill dead one day after it received preliminary approval by the house, saying it went too far and became a gun bill. British computer specialist Babar Ahmad is being held in London on charges he ran terrorist fund raising web sites and tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Arizona. A report by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Appleton detailed that Ahmad met in Phoenix in 1998 with Islamic radicals who claimed to have ties to Osama Bin Laden. There was no evidence in the report that Ahmad successfully set up the Arizona camp. This morning, local members of Hadassah, an international Jewish women's group, gathered their forces at the Arizona State Capitol to lobby in support of stem cell research. In a moment, we'll talk to a member of Hadassah and a state lawmaker who is critical of stem cell research. First, Mike Sauceda reports on today's events.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Are there people that do not have a packet, a green folder?

>> Mike Sauceda:
Beth Shapiro of the Valley of the Sun chapter of Hadassah, the largest women's organization in the world, helping train some 100 volunteers this morning as they set off to lobby Arizona lawmakers.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Be a good listener.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Hadassah is a Jewish women's group and is a developer and proprietor of six of the world's viable stem cell lines. They are lobbying 46 states last month. Hadassah decided to lobby on the state level after President Bush cut funding for stem cell research on the national level.

>> Fredi Brown:
Today a hundred of our volunteer members have joined us to lobby for an issue that Hadassah is doing across the nation, about 46 of the 50 state legislatures are being visited today by Hadassah women, and we're lobbying for the passage of bills for embryonic stem cell research.

>> Hadassah member:
Our purpose here today is to educate the legislatures. We hope to at least change their opinion about stem cell research.

>> Hadassah member:
Except that embryo is a hot word and egg is not, so it would be clearer and less likely to institute an emotional response if we use the word "egg" preferably.

>>Mike Sauceda:
After getting their questions answered, the volunteers were ready to lobby lawmakers on bills.

>> Hadassah member:
It's good to see you guys back again this year. Good to see you.

>>Mike Sauceda:
There are several bills alive in the legislature regarding cloning or stem cell research. One would prohibit state funding for human cloning. Another would not allow small businesses that participate in human cloning to take a certain tax credit. Another would stop universities from getting a profit from companies doing stem cell research. Two would set up study committees on stem cell research.

>> Chuck Gray:
If you are against cloning, then -- I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to have two Chuck Grays running around down here.

>>Mike Sauceda:
One bill that got held up would have asked voters to change the constitution to prohibit human cloning in Arizona. It was sponsored by Representative Chuck Gray of Mesa. He got a visit from several Hadassah members today.

>> Hadassah member:
What we are talking about here is semantic cell nuclear transfer.

>> Chuck Gray:
I always try to make myself available and accessible to the public. I mean, that's my job is to represent the public, and I think it's my duty to understand their view so I can reflect the sentiments of the community. I think that at least in my district, that probably won't change my mind a lot, but I will at least come to understand their point of view.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now to talk about stem cell research, State Representative Bob Stump, and Beth Shapiro, a member of the group Hadassah. Welcome to you both.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Thank you.

>> Bob Stump:
Thank you, Mike.

>> Michael Grant:
Beth, incredibly complicated subject and not a lot of time. So let me start with this. Why is Hadassah so strongly in favor of stem cell research?

>> Beth Shapiro:
Well, let me say that Hadassah was the second medical organization in the world to derive embryonic stem cells. It currently owns 6 of the 15 remaining viable stem cell lines that are left in the world, so, of course, that's important. Hadassah has as its mission to cure and heal people, and the belief is that these particular cells will just absolutely save so many lives, millions of lives. In this country there are 100 million people that are suffering terribly, and the hope is in five to ten years when embryonic stem cells are available for transplantation into humans, that we will see the curative benefits. The stem cells themselves are renewable. They are undifferentiated, and we also believe that there is a concern by some that these embryos are considered life and at least under Jewish law, the fertilized embryo is not considered to be a human life until after the 40th day of fertilization. We feel that we are --

>> Michael Grant:
It seems to me that one of the complicating issues here -- you certainly have people who are opposed to stem cell research at all -- but one of the complicating issues here is government's involvement in it if Hadassah or other private organizations want to carry it forward, then carry it forward, but you get into a mass of other issues when you say, yes, but the federal government, the state government, local governments whatever the case may be, should support it. Is there merit to that? I mean, why don't we just leave government out of it and the research can progress as research in a number of areas progresses.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Some research certainly is funded privately. I think we believe that we will probably need to engage in public-private partnering because it will require significant financial contributions from both sides to make this a successful therapy and treatment. The government, I think, has a stake in it because ultimately we will see tremendous benefit; for example, with organ transplantation currently in this country we have 90,000 plus people waiting for organs. When they do receive an organ, the government in, say, a situation where a person is accepting Medicare, the transplant is paid by Medicare, the anti-rejection drugs on a monthly basis can be thousands of dollars for the person's lifetime.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Stump, let me draw you in. Yours is one of the bills that would prohibit any government of funding cloning and stem cell research.

>> Bob Stump:
Just cloning, actually.

>> Michael Grant:
Why is that a good idea? Would that prohibit government funding of stem cell research?

>> Bob Stump:
I would not prohibit government funding of stem cell research. It would prohibit government funding of therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. And really my rationale in introducing the bill was that I didn't feel my constituents should be complicit in a process in which human life is regarded as a natural resource to be harvested like a field of wheat or a field of sugarcane. I think we run the risk of being very cavalier about the value of human life, and I think we run the risk of undermining the very foundation of moral prudence, which is informed genetic research, that being that maybe a human embryo is not a person, but it is not a thing to be experimented upon without ethical guidelines whatsoever.

>> Michael Grant:
There have been many moral arguments that have been advanced against many scientific developments, including but not limited to, Galileo had a rough time second half of his life. We now back look on that and we chuckle. Do you think we'll look back in 30, 50 years on this subject and chuckle because people didn't want to get involved in this subject?

>> Bob Stump:
I fear we won't be chuckling, actually, I fear we may be shuddering. Dr. Leon Kass who said of President Bush's council on bio ethics, has written very eloquently about the subject of human cloning. He feels that not only is it ineffective but it is very morally problematic and I'd be happy to go into the reasons as to why it is. Some people have made the distinction saying, well, we can use embryos left over from IBF clinics. Somehow that's morally acceptable. It's very important to note that embryonics --

>> Michael Grant:
At fertilization clinics, the couple will not use all of those?

>> Bob Stump:
Right. But that argument is problematic as well because if you look at the moral logic of that argument, you could apply that to prisoners on death row, for instance. They are going to die anyway, and by that token, I think it's very important to distinguish between embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning. I think the latter is a greater danger of what it means to be human in a modern age than embryonic stem cell research per se.

>> Michael Grant:
Beth, here is the flip concern. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of examples where we know -- humans know how to do things a lot sooner than we know whether to do things and what the consequences are and where this is going to go. There is a lot of thoughtful concern about whether or not this is going to lead down some paths and open Pandora's boxes that we're going to look back and say gosh, I wish we hadn't done that.

>> Beth Shapiro:
Well, first of all, the embryos donated by invitro-fertilization couples are the only way we do this research. Currently, if they are not being used for research, when a couple who has donated the eggs no longer wants those eggs, they are discarded as medical waste. So ---

>> Michael Grant:
Right.

>> Beth Shapiro:
So we feel that's also very disrespectful of life, and we'd like to use those, given the couple's permission.

>> Michael Grant:
And we're smart enough to do it, but are we wise enough to do it?

>> Beth Shapiro:
I think you have to look to other states to see what's going on around us. California, California has just passed a $3 billion stem cell initiative. New Jersey now has the same thing, both embryonic stem cell and nuclear transfer, which is misleadingly called therapeutic cloning, as is Wisconsin and New York, and many other states. So what's going on is the other states around us are enticing the top researchers to get involved in their biotech area.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Stump, we're out of time. What's the status of your bill, though, in terms of where it is and where it's moving?

>> Bob Stump:
It's passed the house, 41-19. It's in the senate. And I'm hopeful the Governor will sign it. I think this is a good compromise and so I remain hopeful.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. Representative Bob Stump, thank you very much for joining us. Beth Shapiro, our thanks to you as well.

>> Michael Grant:
Have you ever left your mail in your mailbox for more than a day? Do you carry your Social Security card in your wallet? Have you ever left your bank statement sitting on your kitchen countertop? If so, identity theft experts say you are leaving yourself open to ID theft by not taking some simple steps to protect yourself. In a moment, more on those and other steps. First, Merry Lucero has a story about a man whose financial information was stolen but has avoided having his identity taken as well.

>>Merry Lucero:
When you apply for a mortgage, you must hand over all of your personal financial information and hope it's safe. So when attorney Chuck Jirauch got a letter from his mortgage broker, it came as a shock.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
The letter advised us that their office had been broken into, and that the only thing that had been taken was the hard drive off of their computer, and so clearly somebody was trying to get access to the information about the borrowers that they had been representing, and that we were one of the borrowers that was on their computer system.

>>Merry Lucero:
Social Security numbers, bank accounts, investments, 401(k) plans, all of his family's financial information was now in the hands of potential identity thieves.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
You read about this all the time happening, but you never think it'll happen to you. And that was my first reaction. This can't be possible. How could this happen, and you just have to get over that and recognize it has and do something about it.

>>Merry Lucero:
So Jirauch jumped into action. First, he got a copy of his mortgage application so he knew what information the thieves had. He called all three credit bureaus and advised them what had happened. He called his credit card companies and bank accounts to change all of his account numbers. Jirauch also had automatic withdrawals from his checking account redirected to his new account. He kept a record of everyone he spoke with, plus the date and time of the call, one thing that really helped Jirauch avoid becoming an identity theft victim, his records were all together and organized.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
It was a lot of work. And that was just the beginning. I mean, then I had to get a hold of investment accounts, my employer, where they had information on my 401(k), my retirement funds and things of that nature, that if anybody made any inquiries to them about my accounts to immediately advise me, not to answer any questions, told the same thing to the banks, same thing to the investment groups that we worked with.

>>Merry Lucero:
This type of situation is out of our control.

>> Sgt. Jason Davis:
He could do everything right. He can shred all of his documents. He can make sure his doctor's office shreds their documents, but all it takes is a burglary at his mortgage office and his information has been compromised.

>>Merry Lucero:
But there are things we can do to protect themselves.

>> Paul Charlton:
Any time someone asks you for bank account information, they are asking for your money. When they are asking for your Social Security number, they are asking for your money, essentially. So you need to think about those items in that way. And when you do, when you think about your identification as you would money, it's easy to see how it is you can be much more careful and treat with greater caution that kind of information. So, for example, your mailbox, you need to put some kind of a locking device on the mailbox or ask that the post office to provide more security at the post boxes that they use in apartments, for example, and they are providing those now. Whenever you receive e-mails soliciting information, think about that information in the same way that you would as if you were providing them with money. Whenever you receive correspondence from somebody asking that you respond by providing information, think about it just as you would if you were giving away something of great value.

>> Andrew Thomas: These send out spam E-mail that impersonates banks or other financial or other institutions and asks for financial information including Social Security numbers from the recipients of the E-mail and sometimes people are led to give that information. Viewers should know they should not do that if they don't recognize the person sending the information.

>> Terry Goddard:
You don't really know who is on the other end of that phone, just because they say they are with your bank doesn't necessarily mean that's true. So you insist on a call back, or you insist on written confirmation that this in fact is what you think it is. That level of suspicion, which certainly in our sort of instant turnaround society is not necessarily what people are always doing or expecting. I still think that's the number one thing that we need to have. It's a protective armor for consumers, a suspicion, if you will, that is highly justified in today's financial environment. And then to facilitate that, I would recommend a shredder to take anything that comes into your house or which you would be disposing of that has certainly your Social Security number on it, your name address and phone number, your -- any identifying data. It needs to be shredded.

>>Merry Lucero:
If you don't own a shredder yet, get one. Strip Cut gives some protection. Cross Cut gives more. Depending on what you want to spend and how much you shred, office supply stores offer a full range.

>> Mike Hiller:
If you're the type who saves it up for a month, and it's all your junk mail and you sit down at one time to shred it, you are going to need a much heavier duty shredder. If you are the type of person that will actually shred it as you get it, then you know, mid-range shredder, running in the $69-$99 is going to be fine for you.

>>Reporter:
And don't forget to shred expire credit cards and old CDs with information. Chuck Jirauch's ID is intact. In the meantime, he checks his credit reports and watches for anything suspicious on his accounts.

>> Chuck Jirauch:
Every month when our statements come in for all of the accounts that we have, we review them to be sure that there is nothing on there that's unusual. So far, knock on wood, that hasn't happened.

>> Michael Grant:
Here to talk more about the things we can do to fight identity theft is Fred Ferguson. He is the chairman of the Arizona Bankers Association fraud committee, and Lupe Solis, Associate State Director of Advocacy for the AARP. You know, Fred, what happened to Chuck there, that's just a nightmare, because a mortgage application contains just everything on it.

>> Fred Ferguson:
The real problem with identity theft is the nightmare that you go through trying to turn everything back around to get things back to normal. It can take years for some people to go through the entire process of getting everything back the way it should have been and out from under the obligations of debt that can accumulate on your credit reports.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, the mortgage company involved there, I think, had its computer hard drive stolen and that's how the information got out. They notified him of that. Is there a requirement, though, that a mortgage company, a financial institution, notify you if it thinks your personal data has been breached?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Well, I don't believe in the mortgage company case there is. Financial institutions for the most part will do that, but no, there's no specific law in Arizona that right now requires any business to notify the public if there is a breach. They don't always know if the breach has been caused by a method that would really create those records to be duplicated or not. I mean, sometimes breach of information can be a simplistic reason that is not going to turn out to be bad, but there is no law currently.

>> Michael Grant:
Should there be a law that would require -- and again, I mean, I think you don't want to alarm people unnecessarily, but let's say you're pretty sure that the information has gotten out, should there be a requirement of notification?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Yeah, there was -- I believe there is a bill in front of the senate right now that speaks to that.

>> Michael Grant:
I think so.

>> Fred Ferguson:
And it's probably a good idea.

>> Michael Grant:
Okay. Lupe, one of the things that he did there was check his credit report. First, how do you go about that?

>> Lupe Solis:
It's actually become easier, as you probably know. A credit company or the credit bureaus are supposed to issue you a free credit report. You can call any of the three existing ones. I'm sure you probably have the numbers -- I don't have them with me, but you can call and request and you should.

>> Michael Grant:
We have information on the web site.

>> Lupe Solis:
The problem is seniors, very often, they are paying for a lot of things cash. They are not going through an application of any form, so they tend to think that they are safe, but the reality is that you it can happen any way, including on line, as you know, but I think one of the things we want to make sure that people understand is that ID theft happens in a number of ways, not just through the networks and computer ID theft, but also on line, and also from family members. So it's important to destroy vital information by throwing it away.

>> Michael Grant:
And you also want to keep a good filing system in terms of the information that you have?

>> Lupe Solis:
You certainly do. You want to know where your information is, and as you were joking before, so that the thief can come and get it all out, but we don't really want that, but we want these for people to know what information they have and where it is, so that they can access it in case you need to, and also, because as you well know, there is a lot of theft that just happens. They'll pick your wallet. The intent is not to get the money in the wallet; the intent is to get the other information there that would lead them to greater loss.

>> Michael Grant:
Fred, when I got my credit report, what would I look for on there to detect if there is a problem?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Well, typically you want to look to see if there are any credit accounts that are established that you don't have. In other words, a credit card that shows up on your report that you don't have. You want to see if there are specific charges. There may be loans on your credit report, which you don't have. It's quite common nowadays as a matter of fact, loans are one of the big areas where they are getting into identity theft and they'll go in and take out a loan in your name because you've got good credit rating, and they'll use a different address, so that the statements for that loan are being sent someplace else, so you are never aware that there was a loan taken out and eventually they'll default on that loan, they won't pay anything back, and that winds up being on your credit report.

>> Michael Grant:
If you do detect a problem, there are some self-help remedies with credit reporting agencies, and they have some obligations, do they not, if you notify them to investigate an entry and do things to try to ascertain that it's correct or if not, remove it if its incorrect?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Absolutely, they have to investigate it. Plus, if you find something like that, you can ask them to put an alert on your credit report, which will basically notify all businesses that if they are going to establish credit with this person, they should contact that person first. You can give them, for example, a cell phone number that they can put on your credit report, that the businesses then can call you on that cell phone and say, hey, you know, we've got an application for a credit card, did you make this application, is this really you, or we've got a loan for a car, is this really you that's asking to borrow the money.

>> Michael Grant:
They are required to flag that so someone subsequently checking would be alerted to do what you just described?

>> Fred Ferguson:
Exactly. If you call any one of the three credit bureaus, they are required to notify the other two credit bureaus. You can put a temporary alert on which stays on for about 90 days, or you can put an extended alert on, which stays on for seven years. So depending upon whether you think your identity has been stolen or you know it's been stolen, if you just think maybe your purse was stolen, then it's a good idea to put a temporary alert on for 90 days. If nothing shows up within that 90 days, then chances are nobody who intended to steal your identity wound up with your purse. They may have taken the money out of the wallet and forgot about the credit cards.

>> Michael Grant:
Is it important, Lupe, to report it to the police?

>> Lupe Solis:
It certainly is. We do know through some recent surveys that the loss of identity theft, when it happens through a paper trail is a lot larger than it is when it's on the Internet, but I do like to make another point and that is on the Internet, when people receive a request for an update of information that looks extremely legitimate, you know, the good site and whatever, possibly related to a business that you are familiar with, they are asking you to update your information on line, don't do it, a legitimate business will not ask you to do that. And so we want people to be suspicious as attorney general Goddard says. It's okay in this business to be suspicious, and you should be.

>> Michael Grant:
And it's the kind of thing where sometimes it can look really official and --

>> Lupe Solis:
Exactly.

>> Michael Grant:
You shouldn't do it.

>> Lupe Solis:
You should not do it. I myself received one from Citibank, and recently there was one on the FBI asking you to update information. Well, the FBI would probably come to the door if they really wanted you. So don't fall for it.

>> Michael Grant:
Yeah, I think there is probably some Justice Department regulations on that. Lupe Solis, thank you very much for joining us. Fred Ferguson, we appreciate your input as well.

>>> Michael Grant:
For more about identity theft and what the series is covering, go to www.azpbs.org, click on the identity theft companion web site. You'll see links, advice on how to avoid becoming a victim, what you should do if you are one, and other related information. On the web site, you can also see what's coming up on "HORIZON." Tomorrow, Governor Janet Napolitano will join us on "HORIZON." You can send us a question for the Governor via E-mail at horizon@asu.edu. Here's a look at what the Governor will discuss.

>>Mike Sauceda:
The legislature is dealing with several hot issues, among them, a bill that would allow pharmacists to deny prescriptions if they have a moral or religious objection. Another bill will prohibit state funding of human cloning. We'll talk about to Governor Janet Napolitano on those issues and more Thursday at 7:00 on channel 8's "HORIZON" program.

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks very much for joining us this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one, good night.



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