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"Build a Wall Against Identity Theft!"


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Troy D. Allen Photo
10/1/04 Interview with Troy D. Allen

Kroll Worldwide
1900 Church Street, Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37203
Biography

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Description of Identity Theft

  1. Much broader than just the theft of new and current credit card information, this offense has graduated from a white-collar crime to an organized, international crime involving violent felons supporting other illegal habits.
  2. Perpetrators of identity theft do such things as getting employment in your name (messing up your Social Security and tax reporting), accessing your health benefits and accessing housing not requiring a credit loan.
  3. Access to identity information is coming primarily ((70%) through corporate human resource departments where insiders are tapping into databases and going into hard files; cases take years to play out because ofthe depths these criminals go to in order to access information.
  4. The crime is not new, it has been going on for 15­20 years, but consumer awareness is new.
Debunking the Myths Surrounding Identity Theft

  1. Identifying information is stolen via a myriad of sources, including the Internet,it is acquired elsewhere and then used on the Internet because the Internet is an anonymous channel.
  2. In our convenience society, your information is available, and there isno way to stop theft from happening.
  3. Identity theft is much more than a credit issue; however, credit problems are the only dimension of identity theft that can be effectively monitored.
Victim Response

  1. It does help to notify the national credit agencies (at least one because they are supposed to share such information) by putting in a victim's statement and fraud alert; lenders are supposed to see those alerts and take due diligence steps to be sure they are lending to the correct person.
  2. In reality not all creditors are members of the credit bureaus, and not all lenders, especially instant credit organizations, follow the rules for pulling and reporting information to the bureaus.
  3. The FTC web site is an excellent, free resource about what you can and should do; other helpful resources include the Social SecurityAdministration, the IRS, credit bureaus and creditors.
  4. The process of dealing with identity theft is difficult and time-consuming; victims need an experienced advocate with connections to get issues resolved; restoring the damage can be a lifelong process.
  5. Real identity theft is having your name and Social Security number taken; once that information is circulating, it can be used indefinitely; if criminals know you are aware of the theft, they will wait to reuse your information until you relax vigilance, or they will sell it to other criminals.
  6. The first productive step is to reduce your exposure before you are victimized; identity thieves do not necessarily go after high-net-worth people,the traditional model is to target large groups of average consumers over long periods of time for small, unnoticeable amounts.
  7. If you can, get involved ahead of time with a reputable organization that can do the defensive process for you on the back end if you get victimized.
Consequences for the Victim

  1. Beyond the financial devastation, the frustration of coping with identity theft is unlimited; victims can find themselves unable to get a job orhousing and unable to get money to pay someone to fix the problems; people commit suicide every year because of the emotional devastation.
  2. In addition to notifying the bureaus, the FTC, the SSA and the US Postal Service, you also have to deal with individual creditors, collection agencies, law enforcement personnel, employers and other organizations to convince them this issue exists and needs to be fixed and that you are not the individual who has taken advantage of them, you have to prove their information is wrong and that you aren't the one who gave it to them.
  3. Most organizations that deal regularly with identity theft have decent processes in place, but existing legislation does not require them to "clean things up" to the victim's specifications; some wrong information may remain on record and have to be worked around going forward.
Assistance Programs vs. Kroll Services

  1. Most assistance programs require the victim to do the actual restoration work; they aggregate contact information and provide sample letters to dispute information; before utilizing a firm's services, investigate thoroughly what it actually does.
  2. Kroll Background America offers a more complete solution; the company works with and on behalf of victims to resolve their issues for them.3. The Kroll restoration and identity theft program educates and supports consumers and does most of the actual work, writing letters, making phonecalls, making disputes and following up.
  3. Full restoration service for a new consumer-client costs $1,495, with noadditional charges moving forward; an even better value is to join a membership program that includes restoration (if needed) plus components such as access to credit reports and credit alert services for a monthly fee.
  4. The membership programs are lower cost because they spread the risk for Kroll, but they are more than insurance in that services are delivered regardless of identity theft occurring; e.g., members have access to Kroll investigators for questions and assistance at any time.
Frequency of Identity Related Crime

  1. Unauthorized use of a current credit card is easy to perpetrate, but itis also relatively easy to fix; most consumers will experience this crime,and many, more than once.
  2. True identity theft is more difficult to pull off, but some people are victimized more than once and through different events.
  3. Frequency of identity theft is likely to increase; every story in the popular press educates more criminals on how to do it.
  4. The problem,created by the free market system using Social Security numbers as an easy identifier cannot be simply legislated away; the answer must be a combination of legislation, watch-dog organizations and free market solutions.
Identity Theft Protection for Society Members

Society Members may enroll in the IdentiSafe® Identity Theft Protection program at: www.REcyber.com/identity or by calling 800-535-6451

Contact Information for Troy D. Allen:

(v) 615-320-9800
(f) 615-320-9916
(e) tallen@krollworldwide.com
(w)www.krollworldwide.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Society Identity Theft Service (with Kroll)
FTC's Identity Theft web site
Experian: www.experian.com
Equifax: www.equifax.com
Trans Union: www.transunion.com
SSA fraud reporting: www.ssa.gov/oig/hotline