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WASHINGTON-Two major banking groups revealed last week that they are working to streamline the process for identity theft victims to restore their financial identity and credit. The Identity Theft Assistance Center, created by The Financial Services Roundtable and BITS, aims to address these crimes in a consumer-friendly manner, a release stated. With the help of the Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement, the ITAC may be able to prevent future identity crimes. ITAC use is free to identity theft victims. The ITAC is the “single point of contact” the Roundtable and BITS announced as part of their “Fraud Reduction Guidelines: Strategies for Identity Theft Prevention and Victim Assistance” unveiled this summer. ITAC will receive the information from the victim’s primary financial institution, with the victim’s consent, and contact the victim and all other companies where the victim has accounts where fraud may have occurred. “Identity theft is the fastest growing type of white-collar crime, and one that currently places too high a burden on our customers both in terms of lost financial identity and the time it can take to restore their good names,” The Financial Services Roundtable President and CEO Steve Bartlett said. “With ITAC, victims will only have to report the crime once, saving them from having to spend hours retelling their story to multiple departments in multiple companies.” Wells Fargo & Company, with the support of Roundtable and BITS member institutions, will pilot the ITAC during the second quarter of 2004. Participation in ITAC is voluntary for companies. The Financial Services Roundtable represents 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, and investment products. BITS, of which CUNA is a member, is a nonprofit industry consortium sharing membership with the Roundtable and works to sustain consumer confidence in the financial services industry.

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