Being able to celebrate 20 years gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past, connect with our supporters and envision the future. Over the Identity Theft Resource Center’s twenty-year history, we have grown. From the vision of a single person, a victim, who wanted to provide support and help to others, to a collaborative movement engaged with consumers, victims, business and government stakeholders to make changes for victims. From using a single telephone in a home office, to a nationally recognized organization that has assisted hundreds of thousands of people through a variety of platforms on which they can engage with our team of expert advisors. And we will continue that upward moment of helping victims in their time of need.
As we celebrate 20 years, it is important for us to reflect upon the highs and lows (that all organizations face), together, in order to learn from our mistakes and celebrate our progress. In the victim assistance and consumer protection ecosystem, there has always been a struggle to prioritize resources and acknowledge the impact and trauma victims of economic crime experience. I feel an extraordinary sense of pride and accomplishment when I look in the rearview mirror at the progress the ITRC has made in changing that struggle. More policy- and decision-makers acknowledge the economic and social importance of serving the vastly underserved population of identity crime and cybercrime victims as a result of our efforts.
It’s also important while we celebrate 20 years to not only look at where we have been but also where we are headed. We live in a world where fraud losses are in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars per year and it shows no signs of decreasing. Margaret Thatcher famously said, “You may have to fight the battle more than once to win it.” We embrace that sentiment every day. Each and every victim that we help – every consumer that we educate – is victory over the larger fraud battle. Every organization that embraces cybersecurity best practices and acknowledges the need for protecting consumer data through our guidance, is a victory. Every policymaker in the country who makes reducing the impact and risk of identity crimes a priority, is a victory. The ITRC will continue to fight the battle every day until we win it.
While fraudsters are weaponizing our cyber infrastructure, the ITRC will continue to assist the weary soldiers and townsfolks caught up in the fray. We will empower you and hold your hand when you are too tired, scared, or simply don’t know what to do next. We will continue to leverage technology to assist victims and consumers. We will continue to be the sage voice in an ecosystem of conflicting and confusing information. We will continue to fight the battle every day until we win it.
Looking at both our past progress and the challenges that have yet to be overcome helps us to balance the feelings of impotence or discouragement when we face the Sisyphean task before us. Yes, there is much more work to be done, but we have come such a long way in the last 20 years. Celebrate 20 years with me in our tremendous progress and join me in the continued crusade for the rights of victims of economic crimes.