Red Flag Rules
What is the Red Flag Rule?
The Red Flag Rule is an Identity Theft Program that many businesses and organizations must adopt. This is a Federal Government regulation that is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What types of businesses and organizations are covered by the Red Flags Rule?
The Rule applies to "financial institutions" and "creditors." Under the Rule, the definition of "creditor" is broad, and includes businesses or organizations that regularly provide goods or services first and allow customers to pay later. Examples of groups that may fall within this definition are utilities, health care providers, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, and telecommunications companies.
Does the Red Flags Rule apply to Midstate Electric Cooperative, Inc.?
Yes. Utilities that regularly bill customers after they've received services fall within the statutory definitions of "creditor," and the Co-op is covered by the Rule.
When did the red flag rule go into effect?
Originally, the FTC deadline was November 1, 2008, but several extensions were granted to businesses. Now at the request of Members of Congress, the Federal Trade Commission is delaying enforcement of the “Red Flags” Rule until June 1, 2010, for financial institutions and creditors subject to enforcement by the FTC.
Are other utilities complying with Red Flag Rules?
Some Electric utilities like Midstate are complying with Red Flag Rules.
Benefits of Midstate following the law
Although implementing Red Flag rules have been frustrating for our members, there have been many positive things that the Co-op has benefited from. Some of the benefits from adopting the Red Flag policy are:
- Only you will have access to your account information.
- New electric accounts cannot be setup under a fraudulent name.
- Fewer accounts with balances owing the co-op are being written off since less accounts are set up under fraudulent names.
So why do you need my identity to protect my identity?
This is probably the most frequent question we have received. When working with customers over the phone or in person, we have to ensure the person we are helping is in fact you the account holder and not an imposter. In order to ensure no information about your accounts is given out to the wrong person, we need to ask your indentifying questions that only you would know.
What steps has Midstate taken to ensure my identity protection?
- All member information is locked and secured.
- Employees are given training on how to detect and prevent identity theft.
- Midstate uses the latest technology to protect information stored in our computer systems