Division of Privacy and Identity Protection

The Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, the newest of the Bureau's divisions, oversees issues related to consumer privacy, credit reporting, identity theft, and information security. The Division enforces the statutes and rules within its jurisdiction, engages in outreach and policy development, and educates consumers and businesses about emerging privacy, credit reporting, and information security issues, as well as identity theft prevention and assistance. In addition, the Division analyzes the impact of current and potential legislative initiatives in the areas within its purview.

Specifically the Division enforces:

  • Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including deceptive statements and unfair practices involving the use or protection of consumers' personal information;
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which ensures the accuracy and privacy of information kept by credit bureaus and other consumer reporting agencies, and gives consumers the right to know what information these entities are distributing about them to creditors, insurance companies and employers;
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which requires financial institutions to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information, provide notice to consumers about their information practices, and give consumers an opportunity to direct that their personal information not be shared with certain non-affiliated third parties; and
  • The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which is meant to give parents control over information online companies can collect about their children and how such information can be used.

The Division also operates the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, which houses the federal government's centralized repository for consumer identity theft complaints. The Division analyzes identity theft trends, promotes the development and efficacy of identity fraud prevention strategies in the financial services industry, and identifies targets for referral to criminal law enforcement. The FTC operates a call center for ID theft victims where counselors tell consumers how to protect themselves from identity theft and what to do if their identity has been stolen (1-877-IDTHEFT [1-877-438-4338]; TDD: 1-866-653-4261; or www.ftc.gov/idtheft).