WASHINGTON (4/13/09)—Time is almost up for state-chartered credit unions to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft “red flags” rule. The FTC effective date is May 1. Last October, state-chartereds got a bit of a compliance reprieve when the FTC postponed its effective date because of concern that some entities under its jurisdiction—such as automobile dealers and utility companies--were unaware that the rule applied to them as well as to financial institutions. The National Credit Union Administration and the federal banking agencies required compliance on Nov. 1, 2008. This month, the FTC launched a website to help entities covered by the red flags rule develop and implement identity theft prevention programs. The website features an online publication called “Fighting Fraud with the Red Flags Rule: A How-To Guide for Business.” The website also offers articles and guidance on specific elements of the rule. The red flags rule was developed to implement parts of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003. Under the rule, financial institutions and creditors with covered accounts must have identity theft prevention programs to identify, detect, and respond to patterns, practices, or specific activities that could indicate identity theft. A covered account generally is a consumer account or any other account the institution determines carries a foreseeable risk of identity theft.