ID Theft Council to Focus on National Awareness

New Group Aims to Touch Every U.S. Community

Identity theft crimes are getting more attention, but not enough is being done to prevent them. That lack of prevention is what pushed Neal O'Farrell to found the Identity Theft Council, a newly created national network of partnerships between local law enforcement, financial institutions, businesses and volunteers that aims to provide local, grassroots support for victims of identity theft.

"We have to find some national way to communicate," O'Farrell says.

O'Farrell, a cybercrime and identity-theft expert and consultant for Intersections Inc., says apathy on the part of consumers, law enforcement and business has helped fuel growth of identity theft crimes. "We are seeing an increase in sophisticated malware, yet on the other side, we are seeing law enforcement virtually having to abandon the fight against identity theft," he says. "We are seeing growing apathy among consumers, who feel that zero liability means they have got nothing to lose."

O'Farrell says banking institutions are in a perfect position to not end that apathy but made a positive change. "Virtually every consumer in America has a relationship with a financial institution. They can be the conduit; they can be the messenger; they are that trusted authority."

In this exclusive interview, O'Farrell and Karen Lodrick, an actual victim of identity theft, discuss:

  • The unique role the ITC;
  • ITC plans for collaboration with local law enforcement; and
  • Why financial institutions are the key to winning the fight against identity theft.

Neal O'Farrell is a nationally recognized expert on cybercrime and identity theft. Once described as one of the world's top 20 security experts, O'Farrell was the driving force behind a number of national security awareness initiatives, including Think Security First, a non-profit partnership between Chambers of Commerce and cities across the country to improve cybersecurity education at a community level. Over his 25-year security career, O'Farrell has worked as a security advisor to financial organizations, governments, the military and Fortune 500 firms around the world.

O'Farrell is a board member of the Center for Information Security Awareness and recently created the first course and certificate program to be endorsed by the FBI/InfraGard to provide free security awareness training to the nation's 26 small-business owners and their employees. He also was the first security expert to train an entire police department in identity-theft awareness. The program has since been used by more than 200 police departments and police academies, as well as the FBI, the Department of Motor Vehicles and U.S. Attorney's Office.

Karen Lodrick, is an identity-theft victim turned advocate who has been a creative consultant, speaker, performer and writer for the last 17 years. She graduated from college with the hopes of working as an artist. She moved to San Francisco in 1997 and pursued a career in graphic design. Now she is diligent in providing identity-theft awareness to help those who have been victimized.

Fighting ID Theft via Community Outreach

TRACY KITTEN: The Identity Theft Council is a newly created national network of partnerships between local law enforcement, businesses and volunteers that aims to provide local and in-person support for victims of identity theft. The catalyst for the council's creation -- a lack of cross community and education needed to help law enforcement agencies catch and stop perpetrators of identity theft. Today we hear from ITC Founder and Executive Director Neal O'Farrell and Karen Lodrick, a victim turned advocate who is helping get the council off the ground.

Neal, you created the council to address growing concerns among local law enforcement agencies that have struggled to curb and end many of the identity theft cases they investigate. How does the ITC expect to address some of those concerns and communication roadblocks, which have increasingly allowed identity theft to thrive?

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