Resources for Fighting Identity Theft (continued)
In May, President Bush established a Federal interagency task force to tackle this serious and widespread problem. Chaired by Attorney General Gonzales, the task force is coordinating efforts to raise awareness of identity theft and to develop a strategy for preventing, detecting, and prosecuting identity theft crimes. Hand in hand with that effort is the OJP Identity Theft Initiative, a working group facilitated by my office and involving OJP and other U.S. Department of Justice components.The working group meets regularly to discuss issues surrounding victimization, enforcement, training, funding, prevention, outreach, and research. It examines current trends and policies and makes recommendations on how to leverage our resources to address the issues related to identity theft.
The publications and products featured in the Featured Resources and New Online sections of this issue represent our many and varied efforts to respond to the challenges posed by identity theft. I hope that you will take the time to consult these valuable resources in your work to fight identity theft in your communities.
Raise Awareness About Identity Theft
In support of Federal efforts to reduce the risk to individuals of becoming victims of fraud or identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission has unveiled its newest consumer education kit, AVOID Identity Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend (http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft). The kit offers detailed information about identity theft, what to do if you think your identity has been stolen, and how to safeguard personal information. It includes—
- The Deter, Detect, Defend brochure with easy-to-read tips.
- Talking About Identity Theft: A How-To Guide.
- Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.
- A PowerPoint presentation.
- A 10-minute educational video.
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is supporting this effort by helping to distribute 4,600 kits to the victim services field, Victims of Crime Act administrators, and national victim-related organizations nationwide to spread the word about ways that consumers can reduce the risk of becoming victims of identity theft and how victim service providers can help identity theft victims preserve their legal rights.
OVC supports several cutting-edge initiatives intended to improve victim access to services, educate victims and allied professionals about victims’ rights, and enhance the quality of services. One particularly successful program is the OVC-funded “Identity Theft Verification Passport Program,” operated by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The program provides victims a passport that they can use to show law enforcement and creditors that they have been victims of identity theft. For more information on this effort, visit http://www.ag.state.oh.us/victim/idtheft/index.asp.
OVC also offers relevant publications and links to Web sites to assist victims of identity theft, victim service providers, and allied professionals. In addition, OVC sponsored a Web Forum in February 2005 on the subject. For relevant links, visit OVC’s Web site at http://www.ovc.gov.