Law Enforcement

Identity theft is a complex crime. It can be organized and linked to international crime syndicates, including terrorism, pornography, and drug and human trafficking. Identity theft also can be local, involving friends, family and neighbors.  Either way, identity crime can be difficult to track and crosses jurisdictional boundaries, making it hard to prosecute.

The financial services industry was among the first to recognize that traditional approaches to identity theft fell short of addressing a growing threat. They established ITAC with the goal of first, aiding victims of identity theft; sharing victim data with law enforcement; and educating consumers about protecting their identity. ITAC has formal data sharing agreements with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Postal Inspection Service.
ITAC members are committed to changing the way identity theft is prosecuted.

  • We support collaborative initiatives that inform law enforcement officials and victim advocates on how to work with identity theft victims
  • We raise public awareness about the need to file a police report when identity theft occurs
  • We participate in initiatives that facilitate the sharing of information that result in resolution of the crime and prosecution.

How Law Enforcement Investigates and Prosecutes Identity Theft

Identity theft is prosecuted on the state, regional and federal levels. To combat the growth of identity theft and its cross-jurisdictional challenges, the number of task forces dedicated to investigating identity fraud have grown significantly over the past decade. These task forces, like the North Alabama Identity Theft Task Force, share information and resources with each other, and with federal agencies, to investigate fraud.

Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

Responsibility for investigating identity theft and prosecuting criminals is spread across the federal government, including these federal agencies.

Identity Theft Laws

Federal. Identity theft is prosecuted under numerous federal statutes, including the Identity Theft Prevention Action and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACT Act). You can find a list of legislation at the National Criminal Justice Refes rence Service.

State. Twenty-nine states, Guam, and the District of Columbia have specific restitution provisions for identity theft. Three states—Iowa, Kentucky and Tennessee—have forfeiture provisions for identity theft crimes. Eleven states—Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia—have created identity theft passport programs to help victims from continuing identity theft.

The National Council of State Legislatures maintains a list of criminal penalties, restitution and identity theft passport laws here.


Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims

The Guide was developed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help attorneys and victim service providers chart their way through and resolve legal problems that pro bono clients may have following the theft of their identity.

You can download the Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims from the FTC website.


Copyright © 2013    ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, is the national advocate for identity theft victims and a leading voice on identity policy. Millions of consumers have access to the ITAC victim assistance service through our members - the financial services companies who support ITAC and offer it as a free service for their customers. ITAC is dedicated to protecting all consumers through education, research and the criminal prosecution of identity crime.