Kroll Contributes to New Consumer Federation of America Guidelines for Identity Theft Services Industry

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Initiative Aims to Protect Consumers From Misleading Claims Through the Promotion of Responsible Industry Practices

In response to the rising concern about identity theft and the credibility of for-profit identity theft services, today, the Fraud Solutions division of global risk consulting company Kroll Inc., joined the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) for the announcement of Best Practices for Identity Theft Services, a 20-page report offering specific industry guidelines designed to protect consumers from misleading claims and promote responsible practices. Kroll served as a key member of the working group of identity theft service providers and consumer advocates organized to develop the new guidelines alongside the CFA.

The initiative began in 2009 after CFA took a critical look at for-profit identity theft services and identified some serious problems, including misleading claims about preventing identity theft, unclear information about how services worked, and exaggerations about what guarantees or insurance provided (1).

“In recent years, consumer advocates have raised some interesting questions about the industry that has rapidly emerged in response to America’s fastest growing crime, said Jeremy Miller, director of operations, Kroll’s Fraud Solutions division. “With so many companies to choose from, it’s hard for consumers to distinguish between identity theft services that provide reliable, valuable services and those offering promises that are just too good to be true. Our hope is that these guidelines will educate the consumer – just as a much as the industry – about what to look for in an identity theft services provider.”

The Best Practices for Identity Theft Services cover many different areas. Highlights include:

  •     Misrepresentations about protecting against identity theft. Identity theft service providers should avoid making claims that would lead consumers to believe that they can provide complete protection against all forms of identity theft, detect all instances of identity theft, or stop all attempts to commit identity theft – claims that no service can legitimately make.
  •     Testimonials and use of statistics. Identity theft service providers should be careful in using testimonials and statistics to ensure that they are not misleading.
  •     Disclosures. The best practices call for clear disclosures about costs, cancelation and refund policies, how to resolve complaints with the service, and other important information.
  •     Program features. Identity theft service providers should clearly explain how the features of their programs work and how those features may help consumers.
  •     Protecting individuals’ information. The best practices recommend that identity theft service providers have clear and transparent privacy policies, use reasonable and appropriate safeguards for individuals’ personal data, and be careful about sharing it with others.
  •     Fraud assistance. Identity theft service providers that offer assistance to victims should explain what they do to help them and any limitations or exclusions that may apply.
  •     Insurance and guarantees. Identity theft service providers that offer insurance or guarantees should make thorough and accurate information easily available about what the policies or guarantees provide and any limitations or exclusions that may apply.
  •     Powers of attorney. Powers of attorney should only be obtained when needed to help customers who request assistance and should be used only for that purpose.

“Kroll has been talking with relevant agencies and consumer advocates since 2006 about setting standards in this area. We are delighted and proud to be part of this project with CFA . Kroll supports these best practices wholeheartedly, and will apply them wherever possible across our business,” said Brian Lapidus, chief operating officer of Kroll’s Fraud Solutions business.

Other members of the CFA working group include Mari Frank, an attorney, author and expert on identity theft as well as representatives from: the California Office of Privacy Protection, Call For Action, Consumer Action, Debix, Experian (ProtectMyID), ID Analytics, ID Experts (Zander ID Services Plan), Identity Theft 911, ID Watchdog, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, Intersections Inc., Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and Worldwide Benefits Services (ID Theft Assist).

(1)    To Catch a Thief: Are Identity Theft Services Worth the Cost? CFA, March 18, 2009.

For more information on Best Practices in Identity Theft Services, visit http://www.consumerfed.org/idtheft. The Rose Foundation for Communities & the Environment Consumer Privacy Rights Fund provided a grant to help support CFA’s identity theft service best practices project.
About Kroll Inc.

Kroll, the world’s leading risk consulting company, provides a broad range of investigative, intelligence, financial, security, and technology services to help clients reduce risks, solve problems, and capitalize on opportunities. Headquartered in New York with offices in more than 55 cities in over 27 countries, Kroll has a multidisciplinary team of more than 3,000 employees and serves a global clientele of law firms, financial institutions, corporations, non-profit institutions, government agencies, and individuals. Kroll is an Altegrity company.

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Emilie Moghadam
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