ITAP

THE IDENTITY THEFT ASSISTANCE PROJECT

Since its founding, NVRDC has opened its door to survivors of all crime types, including those impacted by identity theft, fraud, and financial exploitation. Through the years, it became increasingly apparent that 1) there exists an intersection between violent crime and identity theft and 2) victims of non-violent crimes have too few resources in the District to assist in recovery. The Identity Theft Assistance Project at NVRDC is working to address these gaps.

In 2013, NVRDC began conducting identity theft screenings for all survivors of crime to more quickly identify issues of compromised personal identifying information (PII) that may lead to identity theft and fraud. When the compromised PII results in an identity theft, NVRDC advocates refer clients to NVRDC legal services for free legal assistance. Through this screening, NVRDC discovered that 8% of its clients who survived violent crimes experienced a compromise of their personal identifying information. In 2014 this number increased to over 12% of all of NVRDC’s clients experiencing compromised personal identifying information as a result of the victimization they suffered. In 2015, it increased further - to 24% of all clients served.

NVRDC's data coincides with what is known nationally. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, a greater percent of violent crime (rape/sexual assault, robbery, assault) victims experience identity theft than non-violent crime victims. Like serious violent crime victims, over half of identity theft victims experience moderate to severe emotional distress as a result of the crime, in addition to monetary losses and other consequences.

The ITAP Project seeks to increase NVRDC’s ability to meet the needs of identity theft and fraud victims in the nation’s capital, and provide information, assistance and legal services to these consumers. Additionally, this project aims to increase screening in victims of violent crimes whose perpetrators are using identity theft as a secondary means of power, control, or financial gain. NVRDC will offer training and support to its many partners, create strategies to reach victims of identity theft with accurate and helpful information, and increase the overall collaboration, screening, and referrals within the entities that come into contact with victims of identity theft in DC. As a result, an increased number of victims will be funneled immediately to an NVRDC advocate (and/or attorney as needed) who can assist them in quickly preventing further financial and identity damage.

This project is supported with a grant from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, through the Identity Theft Assistance Corporation (ITAC) Fund. ITAC was a non-profit founded in 2004 by members of the financial services industry to help their customers—and all consumers—prevent, detect and recover from identity theft. In the decade of its existence, the Corporation helped 150,000 consumers restore their financial identities. Through consumer education and advocacy and partnerships with law enforcement, ITAC increased awareness and shaped the private and public sectors’ response to identity crime. In taking the initiative to create a free victim assistance service for their customers, ITAC members demonstrated the power of collaboration among industry, consumers and government stakeholders. Having achieved its mission, the Corporation is now continuing its legacy of consumer assistance and advocacy through this grant fund to other nonprofits that are helping consumers prevent, detect and recover from identity theft. NVRDC is honored to continue this legacy through its ITAP Project.

If you, or someone you know, suspect you have been a victim of identity theft this page can walk you through immediate action steps. If you need support contact NVRDC for assistance and we can guide you through the local identity theft laws and rights regarding recovery.  

For more information about ITAP, please contact Special Projects Coordinator Merry O'Brien at merry@nvrdc.org.

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PROJECT UPDATES

FY18 Q2(JAN 2018 - MAR 2018)

In January, all NVRDC advocates and attorneys received training on screening and assisting victims of identity theft. Many survivors of financial crimes that NVRDC assists are also victims of violent crimes such as sexual assault, stalking, elder abuse, and domestic violence. Therefore, NVRDC incorporates screening for identity theft its work with victims of all crime types, and provides financial safety planning and legal assistance as needed.

FY17 Q3(APR 2017 - JUN 2017)

NVRDC is pleased to announce it was awarded continuation funding for its identity theft project from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (CFNCR). A press release can be found here

These funds allow NVRDC advocates and attorneys to continue assisting victims of identity theft, fraud, and financial exploitation. This is especially crucial in cases where the perpetrator has also committed violent crimes such as domestic violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault against the victim. In these cases, when a victim's personal identifying information has been compromised, NVRDC offers supportive case management, advocacy and free legal services to address any potential identity theft and/or fraud. This may include providing guidance to victims on reporting and halting the identity theft, reporting to law enforcement, obtaining an ID theft report, completing an FTC ID theft affidavit, communicating with credit agencies, exploring legal options, dealing with financial institutions, requesting a "credit freeze," and accessing other options for recovery. 

NVRDC first launched the Identity Theft Assistance Project in 2015, with support from CFNCR through its Identity Theft Assistance Corporation (ITAC) Fund. The project allows NVRDC to ensure services to victims of identity theft are provided by competent staff and partners through a series of internal and external trainings which has elevated the community's response to financial crime survivors. This training effort has included producing a roll-call film for the Metropolitan Police Department and providing training to over 100 advocates and allied professionals on screening and referring victims of domestic violence who have compromised personal identifying information. 

In May, NVRDC traveled to Dallas to present at the Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW) on "Integrating Identity Theft Safety Planning into Your Work with Survivors of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Other Crimes." The presentation explored protocols victim service professionals can implement to increase their organization's ability to provide assistance to survivors of financial and violent polyvictimization, as well as steps victim service organizations can take to train and collaborate with allied professionals, using the model NVRDC has created. 

NVRDC looks forward to continuing and growing the project in the coming year. For more information on the ITAP project, please visit our website.

For more information about ITAP, please contact Special Projects Coordinator Merry O'Brien at merry@nvrdc.org.