Earlier this month members of the ITRC team, in an effort to promote greater education and unity of effort in the fight against identity theft, made a visit to Vancouver, BC, where Canada's newest non-profit organization, CITSC (Canadian Identity Theft Support Centre) is nearly ready to hard launch their victim assistance center. Much like the ITRC here in the States, CITSC is an organization whose primary objective is to provide no-cost assistance to victims of identity theft and financial fraud. The two organizations have been closely collaborating for several months in order to share intelligence and experience, to make CITSC's transition to a fully functioning national non-profit go more smoothly. While in Vancouver, ITRC representatives engaged with CITSC to complete live training exercises with actual victims.
The ITSC received a charter from the Canadian Department of Justice to develop a program to educate and assist Canadian victims of identity theft and financial fraud. Much like the United States, Canada's identity theft is a growing problem, quickly making its way into the public consciousness. Canadian law differs in several key areas from US law, so it is important to have an organization that is versed in Canadian law so it can provide the most effective assistance to Canadian victims and consumers. While this sounds simple, the process of getting a national non-profit organization up and running smoothly is actually a very challenging undertaking. CITSC reached out to ITRC not only to train advisors, but to assist in establishing operations and security protocols that are a necessary part of running the day-in, day-out business of an organization that still has all the same challenges a normal small business does. This allowed CITSC to not have to "reinvent the wheel," as CITSC President Kevin Scott put it.
Providing CITSC with the opportunity to put more of their initial focus on discovering and understanding the differences in Canadian law and how that would affect the advice given to victims and consumers was of paramount importance to the ITRC. As the ITRC Director of Operations Rex Davis put it, "once they go live with a hard launch we know their jobs will get fast and furious, so we just wanted to do all that we could to give them the best leg up possible out of the gate." The shared mutual interest from both organizations has led to close collaboration over the past year and has covered every issue or challenge that might be faced with forming this kind of organization. As their expected hard launch date is tentatively set for June, this trip's objective was to provide sort of a final systems check, to ensure the victim advisors who would be handling calls are trained and ready to go.
According to ITRC Victim Advisor Gabby Ayala, "the objective of this visit was to give the folks who will be first responders to Canadian victims some live experience with an actual victim pool prior to the hard launch of their call center. Overall we thought the experience was incredibly beneficial for both parties. It gave us a chance to show them what they should expect and to allow them to have some actual experience with victims under their belt prior to going live. I think it was encouraging for us as well to see how far they've come in such a short period of time. The dedication they show to the victims and the passion they have for the subject matter is readily apparent, and I think that was really a welcome sight for us as veteran advisors. It was gratifying to know that Canadian victims will be in good hands."
For questions or more information about the Canadian Identity Theft Support Centre, visit their website at http://idtheftsupportcentre.org/ or call them toll free at 1(866) 436-5461.
"ITRC Goes to Canada, Ey?" was written by Matt Davis. Matt is a Victim Advisor at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC Blog.