Red Flag Policy
Identity theft is a serious problem in the United States today. To combat the problem, as part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT), the Federal Trade Commission and several other federal agencies have issued rules requiring creditors (including municipalities under certain circumstances) to develop, adopt and implement written Identity Theft Prevention Programs. The programs were required to be in place by May 1, 2009. The rules are often referred to as Red Flag requirements and apply to financial institutions.
Although municipalities are not creditors in the traditional sense, the Federal Trade Commission has confirmed that the red flag rules apply to municipalities that provide utility services and/or other services for which payment is made in arrears. It is the provision of services on a deferred payment basis that makes a municipality a creditor as defined under red flags.
The program comes down to this, if a utility regularly bills customers after services are provided, the creditor under this new law must have a written program to identify and address red flags that could indicate identity theft on covered accounts. The new rule defines a covered account as a consumer account that allows multiple payments or transactions - for example, a standard utility account or any other account with a reasonably foreseeable risk of identity theft.
Owasso's Part in the Program
In May 2009 the City of Owasso adopted Resolution No. 2009 - 03 to help protect customers from identity theft, fight theft of customer account information, and provide procedures that identify, detect, and respond to possible signals of identity theft known as red flags.
As result, the following list of security enhancements are now enforced to ensure the security of customer information:
- Only allow for applications for service to be made in person
- Verify the identification of existing customers if they request information in person, via telephone, via facsimile, or via email
- Verify identification of existing customers when requesting to transfer service, change account status, change mailing address, or to terminate service
- Verify proof of ownership / lease agreement
- Require proper identification when a customer presents a credit or debit card for payment if the name is on the card is different from the name on the utility account
We ask for your patience and consideration for any inconvenience this may cause. It is our hope that you will understand that the extra questions you are being asked are to protect and secure your identity.