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Frequently Asked Questions
 

1) What is the Identity Theft Assistance Center?

2) What is ITAC’s mission?

3) How does ITAC define “identity theft”?

4) What is different about ITAC?

5) How does ITAC victim assistance® service work?

6) What if a suspicious account is found at a non-member company?

7) Who can use the ITAC victim assistance® service?

8) Why are the members participating in ITAC?

9) What is ITAC doing to add to the body of knowledge about identity fraud?

10) What can I do as a consumer to prevent future cases of identity theft?


1) What is the Identity Theft Assistance Center?

ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center (www.identitytheftassistance.org), is a nonprofit coalition of financial services companies united in our commitment to protect our customers from identity theft. ITAC members offer ITAC Victim Assistance® as a free service for their customers. As the leading provider of identity assistance services, ITAC protects all consumers through partnerships with law enforcement, education and identity management services.

ITAC was founded in 2004 by The Financial Services Roundtable and its technology affiliate, BITS, which represent 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies. Since then, ITAC has helped tens of thousands of victims restore their financial identities. ITAC’s unique private/public structure is recognized internationally as an effective model to address a highly complex, global crime. The ITAC database of identity theft cases is a valuable resource for those seeking a greater understanding of the causes and consequences of identity theft.

2) What is ITAC’s mission?

Help victims of identity theft.
Partner with law enforcement agencies in fighting identity crime.
Work with the industry to detect and prevent identity theft and act as the center of expertise on identity theft.

3) How does ITAC define identity theft?

Identity theft is the creation of a fraudulent new account in the consumer’s name or the takeover of an existing legitimate account. Unlike the more common kinds of financial fraud, such as unauthorized use of a credit card, which typically can be resolved quickly, identity theft often involves multiple companies and can be difficult to resolve.

4) What is different about ITAC?

ITAC has several unique features:

  • Non- profit Industry Initiative. Forty-eight of the largest financial services companies in the country took the initiative to create and fund a service for their customers who are victims of identity theft.
  • Cooperative Approach. The members of ITAC believe that fraud reduction and victim assistance are not competitive issues. Only a comprehensive approach – bringing together victims, industry, and law enforcement – can address a crime as pervasive and complex as identity theft. For the victim, one of the most frustrating aspects of identity theft is the need to complete different forms at each company where suspicious activity occurred. All of the members of ITAC have agreed to use the same form and to share the contents of among themselves.

ITAC shares information about known cases of identity theft with law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction over these crimes.

5) How does ITAC victim assistance® service work?

If a consumer suspects a problem with an account - for example, funds are missing from an account - the consumer contacts the ITAC member company that holds that account.

First, the customer works with the member to resolve any issues at that particular company. The ITAC member gathers information about the event using the uniform affidavit. Information in the uniform affidavit can be shared with departments and business units within the company and, with the customer's consent, other companies. This sharing reduces the burden on the victim, who otherwise would have to tell his or her story repeatedly and complete multiple forms.

If the ITAC member determines the problem involves identity theft, the consumer is offered use of ITAC free of charge. With the victim's consent, the contents of the uniform affidavit are transmitted to the ITAC. ITAC then obtains the victim's credit report and schedules a telephone call with the victim. Together, ITAC reviews the file with the victim to see if there is evidence of accounts that have been taken over or fraudulent accounts that have been created. If fraudulent activity is found, ITAC notifies the affected creditors and places a fraud alert with the credit bureaus if the victim has not already done so. ITAC shares information about these identity theft crimes with law enforcement agencies in order to help them determine, investigate, and prosecute identity theft.

6) What if a suspicious account is found at a non-member company?

ITAC notifies all companies at which suspicious activity is suspected, regardless of whether the company is a member.

7) Who can use the ITAC victim assistance® service?

ITAC Victim Assistance® is a free service for customers of ITAC member companies. ITAC victim assistance® serves individuals who live in the United States and who have an account relationship with a member for personal, family, or household use.

8) Why are the members participating in ITAC?

The members recognize that fighting fraud is not a competitive issue and that fraud and identity theft affects consumers and the industry alike. Consumers suffer the frustration and stress of navigating a complex process that can take hours to complete, while companies are forced to offset losses with higher costs to consumers. ITAC is working with law enforcement to ensure they have the resources necessary to catch and convict identity theft criminals.

9) What is ITAC doing to add to the body of knowledge about identity fraud?

The ITAC victim database is a valuable resource for researchers since it contains verifiable cases of identity theft. ITAC works with academics and law enforcement on research that can be used to develop strategies to fight identity theft. ITAC recently sponsored the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Report to better understand the scope of the crime and how the information is used to commit fraud.

10) What can I do as a consumer to prevent future cases of identity theft?

To learn more about protecting yourself against identity theft, visit our Protect Yourself pages.

ITAC Fast Facts

  • Nonprofit established in 2004
  • Supported by 30 large, diversified financial services companies
  • Core service is ITAC Victim Assistance®
  • Free to customers of member companies
  • More than 120,000 consumers helped
  • Speeds the recovery of victim’s financial identity
  • Partners with law enforcement to fight identity crime
 

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.