The US bank-backed Identity Theft Assistance Centre (Itac) is to be permanently established as a free service to consumers after helping restore financial IDs to nearly 700 victims of identity theft during a one-year pilot.
Funded by banking members of the Financial Services Roundtable and Bits, Itac was set up to streamline the recovery process for victims of ID theft and to share information with law enforcement bodies.
Ken Thompson, chairman, president and CEO of Wachovia and chairman of the board of The Financial Services Roundtable says Itac has quickly become established as "a key part of our industry's commitment to the safety of customers' financial identity".
Steve Bartlett, resident and CEO of the Roundtable, says the Itac service is currently being enhanced "so it can be as responsive as possible to victims' needs and move us toward our other objective - using the information to prosecute and convict identity thieves".
Identity theft is the creation of a fraudulent new account in the consumer's name or the takeover of an existing legitimate account and is therefore more difficult for consumers to resolve since it requires contact with multiple firms and credit bureaus.
The Itac walks the consumer through his or her credit report to find suspicious activity, notifies the affected creditors and places fraud alerts with the credit bureaus.