Franklinton aldermen approve red flag provisions

Published 12:12 am Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Franklinton Board of Aldermen on Tuesday completed the process of renewing the town’s identity theft safeguards.

Since the town maintains personal records of its utility customers, including things such as name, date of birth and Social Security and account numbers, the red flag provisions must be reviewed each year, town attorney Ellen Creel said.

In addition to looking over records, she meets with the utility staff to find out if any part of the process has changed.

“We are obligated by federal statute to every year go through and examine what we do, how we do it, to see if we’re doing all we can to protect our citizens’ personal information,” she said.

The provisions have been changed and tweaked each year since they were first introduced, Creel said, but this year the consensus was that no substitutive changes were needed to the town’s regulations.

As an additional safeguard, the red flag provisions of services that have remote access to town records — during billing and while customers are making online payments, for example — are also reviewed.

“We’re responsible for their remote access to our information from our citizens,” Creel said.

The provisions of Utility Outsourcing Specialists have already been double checked, Creel said.

“We did that last year, and they were in compliance,” she said. “I was very pleased with their red flag provisions. Theirs were very stringent.”

Though Continental Utility Services is “two steps down the chain removed to us,” the company sometimes has remote access if the town encounters a problem with its utility billing system, Creel said. Thus, she asked for the board’s permission to contact the company and request a copy of its red flag provisions to ensure compliance.

The resolution on the town’s red flag provisions was first added to the agenda and then approved by the board.