Identity Restoration vs. Identity Resolution

As a credit union, you are obligated to offer the best protection for your members. Are your members protected from Identity Theft?


By L&N Employees Credit Union


Identity Theft – The American Epidemic
The 1990’s spawned a new variety of crooks called identity thieves. Their stock in trade? Your everyday transactions, which usually reveal bits of your personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers; your income; your Social Security number (SSN); or your name, address, and phone numbers. An identity thief obtains some piece of your sensitive information and uses it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

According to the Federal Trade Commission “Identity Theft” is the fastest growing white-collar crime in America. 27.3 million victims in the last 5 years and over 53 billion lost of which financial institutions and major business lost 48 billion. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years — and their hard-earned money — cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of their good name and credit record. Some victims have lost job opportunities, been refused loans for education, housing or cars, or even been arrested for crimes they didn’t commit.

Today there are a number of companies that offer assistance to protect the American public from identity theft. In the beginning, the big three credit reporting agencies, as well as some independents, started by offering consumers an opportunity to check their credit reports periodically instead of only when they are having their credit reports pulled to open lines of credit or lease property. While this is a good first line of defense it is not the only solution because not all identity theft will show up on a credit report. More recently identity theft products have added insurance and victim assistance in the event that someone’s identity is jeopardized but the claims that companies are making with their victim assistance programs is just as misleading and exploiting what real identity theft restoration is.

Restoration vs. Resolution
If the average consumer was to look at the words “Restoration” and “Resolution” they would think they are one in the same…not true. Resolution is the solution that an identity theft product offers and every solution varies. Solutions can come in the form of a kit that is sent out with instructions on how to restore your identity or it could be victim assistance, where the victim calls into a call center and speaks directly to an assistance advisor. The assistance advisor’s have some very clever names, like a crises coach, guidance investigator, or a personal advocate working on the victims behalf. The truth is that the victim is still required to do most of the work and the FTC reports that it takes on average 175 hours or more to restore a victim’s identity.

A company that provides “Restoration” means that they do the work on behalf of the victim by signing a limited-power of attorney. A limited power-power of attorney (limited to only interacting on the victims behalf with the credit reporting agency’s, DMV, etc.) allows a restoration company to do most (about 85%) of the work on a victim’s behalf so that the victim can get on with their lives. The restoration company’s also have the ability to restore the identity for the victim much faster because of the training and relationships they have with the credit reporting agency’s, DMV, Social Security Administration and Post Office which all are contacted and notified that identity theft has taken place.

As a credit union, you are obligated to offer the best protection for your members because if a product is purchased through your credit union and it does not live up to its claims then that would possibly jeopardize your member relationship and not to mention that they are covered for something they are not.
Currently Identity Theft Shield with Kroll Worldwide offers “Real Identity Theft Restoration” to the credit union membership. Identity Theft Shield also offers the other services such as credit reports, credit scoring, monitoring and restoration insurance with the restoration. If you would like to learn more about Identity Theft Shield and many of the other identity theft products that can assist credit unions on a business level please contact Benson Kane @ 1-866-376-7878


Aug. 9, 2004


  • Good awareness article on the comparative differences between restoration and resolution.
  • This is not completely accurate information. Liberty Identity Theft Services, not partnered with Kroll Worldwide but with IDTheft 911, offers resolution in which the personal advocates (one assigned to each case) do most of the work for the victim without the necessity of having them sign over a limited power of attorney -- which after having one's personal information compromised offers another potentially frightening loss of personal power. If you are going to publish articles, you should have them written by objective individuals who will not personally benefit from promoting their own product or service.
  • The phone number in this article does not reach the stated contact, Benson Kane.
  • Interesting comment about leaving restoration in the "hands of a stranger." My thoughts exactly - but then I did my due diligence on Kroll - they were brought in to do forensic accounting for Enron, retained by the Kuwaiti government to find the funds stolen by Saddam Hussein, etc. etc. Hardly an unreputable operation when the U.S. and foreign governments retain them. Another issue is can your members afford all that time off work to weave their way through the maze of identity theft restoration? What if it happens to your employees - can you afford 10% of your workforce off trying to restore their identity? 20%? 50%? I'd suggest that credit unions weight the facts and compare the various products on the market before coming to a decision.
  • Restoration is nice, but after having been through the violation of an identity theft where your personal information has been compromised, do you really want to place your personal identificatrion and the responsibility for resolution into the hands of a stranger? I wouldn't. As a credit union, do you want to jeopardize your member relationship by giving another company that much power over your member?
  • The ambiguity of the following oxymoronic statement gives me cause to be concerned: "and not to mention that they are covered for something they are not." I daresay that any disseminated information related by a representative of any company should mirror the mission, policies, & practices of that company. (as in being a shining example) Me thinks this confusing statement dost speak to subterfuge...