CIPA Certification Overview and Curriculum

Certified Identity Protection Advisor (CIPA) certification
Certified Identity Protection Advisor (CIPA) certification

The Certified Identity Protection Advisor® (CIPA) program is a registered certification program designed to educate and certify professionals who help consumers prevent, detect, and resolve their identity theft cases.

Who should become a CIPA®?

Professionals who help consumers with their identity theft risk management efforts through their services should consider the CIPA® designation. Identity theft risk management professionals will greatly benefit from the CIPA identity protection certification by learning about identity theft risk management practices, validating their knowledge, and showcasing their certification badge.

As the number of people affected by identity theft and related fraud continues to rise, Certified Identity Protection Advisor professionals are increasingly needed to guide consumers with their identity theft prevention, detection, and resolution challenges.

Individuals who might benefit from the CIPA designation include professionals who provide identity theft protection services such as employees of various government agencies, credit bureaus, financial services, insurance, health care, banking, social media, and customer service units.

Professionals who provide services with inherent identity theft risks can also benefit by becoming a CIPA as they will offer additional value and gain a competitive edge within their respective professional fields. Such professionals include tax preparers, office organizers, accountants, law enforcement members, attorneys, investigators, and others who collect the personal information of their clients.

Why become a CIPA®

Individuals who become Certified Identity Protection Advisor (CIPA)® professionals demonstrate unique knowledge and skill set for solving one of today’s increasing and challenging issues facing consumers and businesses. Identity theft is on the rise and due to the internet and proliferation of information as well as advancement in fraud techniques, this crime continues to take on new dimensions and is not about to go away any time soon as we dive into Web3 and metaverse.

Identity theft affects millions of consumers annually and related fraud costs are as high as billions of dollars for businesses and their customers. Not only dedicated identity protection advisors are needed to help an increasing number of people concerned with identity theft and fraud, but a professional identity theft management certification offered by an independent organization such as Identity Management Institute® (IMI) provides consumers and companies the assurance that a person holding the CIPA® designation is a qualified identity theft risk management professional who can guide and assist them with solving their identity theft challenges.

Critical Risk Domains™ (CRD)

The CIPA Critical Risk Domains (CRD) are defined by IMI to a) identify the knowledge areas that a CIPA must possess to effectively manage identity theft risks, and b) test the candidate’s understanding of identity theft risks and best practices for preventing, detecting, and resolving identity theft.

The CIPA CRDs are as follows:

  1. Awareness
  2. Rights & Obligations
  3. Identity Protection Framework
  4. Risk Management
  5. Theft & Fraud Prevention
  6. Fraud Detection
  7. Consumer Reports & Scores
  8. Investigation & Resolution
  9. Relationship Management
  10. Services & Resources

Awareness: Before identity protection advisors can solve identity theft challenges, they must be aware of and understand identity theft risks as well as the latest identity protection solutions and best practices. As identity theft threats evolve and new fraud schemes and solutions are introduced, an up-to-date knowledge of such information is absolutely critical to effectively help consumers understand the risks and protect them with the best identity protection solutions and practices.

Rights & Obligations: Consumers have certain rights and businesses have certain obligations in accordance with various privacy and identity theft laws. CIPAs must be aware of these laws and understand them in order to protect consumers, claim their rights, and effectively resolve identity fraud. Some of these laws relate to consumer rights and others relate to business obligations around privacy, credit reporting, and data breach notifications.

Identity Protection Framework: Identity KAOS™ is an identity protection framework that was developed by the Identity Management Institute to offer 8 overarching principles that form the basis for an effective identity theft protection plan to: a) prevent the theft of personal information, b) detect signs of identity misuse and fraud, and, c) contain and minimize the damage inflicted as a result of the stolen information.

Risk Management: An effective identity theft risk management plan requires the ability to think critically and assess the risks, identify threats, discover weaknesses, and propose an action plan to prevent, detect, and resolve identity theft. CIPAs must be able to assess identity theft threats and propose an executable action plan to meet the needs of their customers.

Theft & Fraud Prevention: Proposed identity theft protection action plans must consider steps to prevent the theft of personal information and identity fraud. There are techniques that CIPAs can deploy to manage this risk domain including the use of appropriate Identity KAOS™ principles to protect personal information and disrupt the identity theft crime process to prevent fraud.

Fraud Detection: Fraud detection techniques require the use of all available tools and skills for monitoring and detecting unauthorized transactions including but not limited to credit reports, account statements, account activities, and account change alerts.

Consumer Reports & Scores: CIPAs must be able to understand the contents of various consumer reports including various terms and consumer scores in order to review the information, identify errors or unusual activities, and report findings. Certified professionals must also be able to know the methods and processes for accessing, using, and improving the reports.

Investigation & Resolution: One of the increasing needs expected of identity theft management professionals is around the investigation and resolution of identity theft cases. Once identity fraud is discovered or reported, CIPAs must assess the case, propose an action plan, and take swift action to restore the stolen identity of their customers and help them recover damages as much as possible. Fraud resolution actions might include filing police reports, sending dispute letters, documenting identity theft cases, contacting law enforcement and other parties, and engaging other experts as necessary such as attorneys.

Relationship Management: As CIPAs work diligently to meet the needs of their customers, they must coordinate and cooperate with many parties to achieve their desired goals. As such, they must possess great interpersonal skills and be able to listen attentively, communicate effectively, act harmoniously and pleasantly, and be dedicated and sensitive to the needs of others in order to obtain their cooperation and provide excellent solutions and customer service.  

Services & Resources: The identity theft threat landscape is constantly evolving and facing new threats. As such, new services are always introduced, existing services are improved, and an increasing number of paid and free resources become available which CIPAs and their customers must leverage to improve their identity protection efforts as much as possible.  

CIPA Certification Requirements

The basic requirements for becoming a CIPA include 1) being a member of the Identity Management Institute, 2) willingness to study for the exam, and 3) successfully passing the exam.

Exam Format

The exam is offered and taken by global candidates online. The exam can also be administered in a classroom following a live group training. The exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions and results are shared immediately. 70 questions or more must be answered correctly within a 90-minute time limit to pass the exam and there is no penalty for guessing. There is a short quiz on the CIPA certification page.

CIPA Certification Process and Cost

For CIPA certification cost, application, and additional details, please visit the CIPA certification page.

Certified Identity Protection Advisor (CIPA) certification