FTC Develops New Tools for ID Theft Victims, Provides Tips for Businesses to Protect Data
Identity theft victims can now go online and get a free, personalized identity theft recovery plan as a result of significant enhancements to the Federal Trade Commission’s IdentityTheft.gov website.
The new website is integrated with the FTC’s consumer complaint system, allowing consumers who are victims of identity theft to file a complaint with the FTC and then get a personalized guide to recovery that helps streamline many of the steps involved.
In addition to IdentityTheft.gov and the new personal recovery plan features, the FTC also provides educational materials for businesses with information on how to prevent identity theft and remain vigilant for other scams.
In 2015, the FTC received over 490,000 consumer complaints about identity theft, representing a 47 percent increase over the prior year, and the Department of Justice estimates that 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014.
What can businesses do to help?
- Tell employees about IdentityTheft.gov. Perhaps send a company-wide email with the short video below about the site. You might also want to consider naming a trusted
- Publicize IdentityTheft.gov to your customers. Many businesses have a protocol in place for working with consumers who call about unauthorized charges or unapproved accounts. Consider adding the simple step of mentioning IdentityTheft.gov. Your business can be part of the solution, and change a distraught consumer into a loyal customer.
- Talk about identity theft prevention and recovery in your community. Everyone knows someone who has been the victim of ID theft. That’s why identity theft prevention and recovery can be a perfect pet project for your industry association or community group.
The third pillar of ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices addresses policies and procedures for an appropriate information security program.
To learn more, register for ALTA’s Feb. 11 compliance webinar “Protecting Sensitive Customer Information: The Basics of Gramm-Leach-Bliley,” The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act provides the basic legal framework governing title and settlement companies’ duty to protect their customers’ non-public personal information (NPI).