FACT Act Overview
New Requirement for Those
As a result of new federal law, beginning May 1, 2009, the City of Seattle will verify the identity of anyone opening a new residential utility account. Several forms of government-issued photo identification are acceptable and verification can be done via fax, U.S. mail or in person at several locations throughout Seattle. Details are provided below.
The FACT (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions) Act of 2003 is designed to give consumers added protection against identity theft and consumer fraud. Congress enacted the law and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) administers it. In 2008, the FTC implemented new regulations and now public utilities, including Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities, must comply with the law's requirements.
The FACT Act covers many things but the part that impacts public utilities is the requirement under the "Red Flag Rule" that public utilities create an "Identity Theft Prevention Program." Utilities have been included in this law because the federal government has found someone can open a utility account and, after receiving their first bill, use that bill as a form of accepted identification to conduct fraudulent activities, such as opening bank accounts, obtaining driver's licenses, applying for government benefits, etc.
Starting May 1, 2009, to comply with this new federal law, Seattle will verify the identity of customers opening a new residential utility account. Seattle will:
For in-person verifications, City staff will confirm the validity of the identification documents using existing resources and visual inspection. Confirmation of identification will be sent to the utilities, where new account requests will be completed. No personal information will be sent with the notice of identity confirmation. The City accepts government-issued photo identification containing the holder's name, date of birth and photograph. Examples include:
If someone is a tenant and cannot provide photo identification, or a notarized application or landlord affidavit, the account can be opened in the property owner's/landlord's name.
The City of Seattle's Department of Executive Administration is administering this program on behalf of the City. The City will be closely monitoring this program as it is implemented and making adjustments as we go. We are committed to helping our customers work through these changes to our procedures.
For more information, contact the