SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The ITRC, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to the understanding of identity theft and related issues, announced recently that Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, will serve on its Board of Directors.

Robert SicilianoSiciliano, with more than 30 years of experience in this field, will bring his vast knowledge to the ITRC Board and will help to heighten awareness on current trends and pro-active measures consumers and victims can take to protect themselves.

The ITRC, founded in 1999, is a non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft.  It is the on-going mission of the ITRC to assist victims, educate consumers, research identity theft and increase public and corporate awareness about this problem and related issues.

“The ITRC is the single most comprehensive resource for victims dealing with identity theft,” said Siciliano. “For the past 15 years victims have been coming to me for help and my immediate response is to point them right to ITRC. There isn’t another non-profit on the planet that has as much experience in dealing with this horrible crime,” Siciliano added.

As an identity theft expert and frequent speaker, Siciliano is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His “tell it like it is” style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace.

“Robert’s expansive expertise in the areas of data security and online safety will help the ITRC in serving the thousands of consumers who reach out to the ITRC call center year after year,” said Julie Fergerson, ITRC Board Chair.  “His research efforts in these areas have allowed him to forge ahead as a nationally renowned industry leader in identity theft, internet best practices and technological advances being made in this space every day,” Fergerson added.

About the ITRC

Founded in 1999, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization which provides victim assistance and consumer education through its toll-free call center, website and highly visible social media efforts. It is the mission of the ITRC to: provide best-in-class victim assistance at no charge to consumers throughout the United States; educate consumers, corporations, government agencies, and other organizations on best practices for fraud and identity theft detection, reduction and mitigation; and, serve as a relevant national resource on consumer issues related to cybersecurity, data breaches, social media, fraud, scams, and other issues.

The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) today announced a partnership with IDT911™ (IDentity Theft 911®) for their corporate sponsorship of ITRC’s Breach List, supplemental reports and related research efforts involving data breach incidents. Together, the two organizations will drive awareness regarding the growing number of data breaches and the potential risk of identity theft, which may plague a consumer for years to come.

“With support from IDT911, we will be able to further continue our efforts in collecting, tracking and understanding the complex issues surrounding the growing number of data breaches,” said Eva Velasquez, President and CEO, ITRC. “Heightening consumer awareness about the various types of risks posed by different types of data breaches is fundamental in helping consumers understand the value of personal identifying information,” Velasquez added.

The ITRC Breach List is a compilation of data breaches confirmed by various media sources and/or notification lists from state governmental agencies. This list is updated daily, and published each Tuesday. Breaches on this list typically have exposed information that could potentially lead to identity theft, including Social Security numbers, financial account information, medical information, and even email addresses and passwords.

“Breaches and the identity theft that inevitably flows from them are the third certainty in life,” said Matt Cullina, CEO, IDT911. “The ripple effect of breaches can ruin businesses and devastate consumers. The resolution services offered by IDT911 and ITRC assist identity theft victims every day and we’ve certainly seen the effects on consumers, like incorrect medical charts, inability to obtain a mortgage, and even an arrest. Many of these fraudulent activities trickle down from the flood of data on the black market after a breach.”

The ITRC began tracking data breaches in 2005 and since that time has been maintaining an extensive database capturing and categorizing U.S. data breaches into five industry sectors with a number of other attributes when available (such as how information was compromised and type of data). ITRC Breach Reports and ITRC Breach Stats Reports are published weekly and are often cited throughout the year by industry leaders in national media including: USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Today Money, Information Week, TechWorld, andComputerWorld. This data breach information, and available statistics, have become a valuable resource for media, businesses and consumers looking to become more informed on the need for best practices, privacy and security measures in all areas – both personal and professional.

The groundwork for this partnership between the ITRC and IDT911 began last fall at the Privacy XChange Forum which explored Privacy in the Digital Age. This event brought together thought leaders and executives from government, as well as financial, insurance, education, healthcare and privacy sectors. The ITRC and IDT911 developed ways they could collaborate in an area where both had vested interests – the analysis of the everyday data breach occurrence and the impact on consumers and businesses of all sizes.

About the ITRC

Founded in 1999, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization which provides victim assistance and consumer education through its toll-free call center, website and highly visible social media efforts. It is the mission of the ITRC to: provide best-in-class victim assistance at no charge to consumers throughout the United States; educate consumers, corporations, government agencies, and other organizations on best practices for fraud and identity theft detection, reduction and mitigation; and, serve as a relevant national resource on consumer issues related to cybersecurity, data breaches, social media, fraud, scams, and other issues. Visithttp://www.idtheftcenter.org. Victims may contact the ITRC at 888-400-5530.

About IDT911™ (IDentity Theft 911®)

Founded in 2003, IDT911™ is the nation’s premier consultative provider of identity and data risk management, resolution and education services. The company serves 17.5 million households across the country and provides fraud solutions for a range of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, the country’s largest insurance companies, employee benefit providers, banks and credit unions and membership organizations. A subsidiary of IDT911, IDT911 Consulting™ provides information security and data privacy services to help businesses avert or respond to a data loss incident. Together, the companies provide preventative and breach response services to more than 600,000 businesses in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. IDT911 is the recipient of several awards, including the Stevie Award for Sales and Customer Service and the Phoenix Business Journal Tech Titan award for innovation in breach and fraud-fighting services. The company is the organizer of the Privacy XChange Forum, an annual conference that brings together high profile privacy thought leaders.

(11/8/2013) – The ITRC, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to the understanding of identity theft and related issues, announced today that Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection with the Consumer Federation of America, will serve on its Board of Directors.

Ms. Grant, who also heads the CFA’s Consumer Protection Institute, brings her many years of experience to the ITRC Board and will enhance the ITRC’s ability to more effectively communicate with victims and consumers nationwide.

Ms. Grant started her career in 1976 in the Consumer Protection Division of the Northwestern Massachusetts District Attorney’s Office and subsequently held positions at the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators and National Consumers League before joining the CFA staff in 2008.

“I have admired the ITRC for many years,” said Ms. Grant. “As identity theft persists and evolves, the ITRC’s mission is more important than ever and I’m happy to work with its dedicated board and staff to ensure that consumers get the advice and assistance they need.”

The ITRC, founded in 1999, is a national non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft.  It is the ongoing mission of the ITRC to assist victims, educate consumers, research identity theft and increase public and corporate awareness about this problem.

“Susan’s long-time experience in the areas of privacy, identity theft and consumer protection will greatly enhance the ITRC’s ability to broaden its efforts in heightening awareness about the pervasive threat of identity theft, frauds and scams,” said Julie Fergerson, current ITRC Board member.  “Susan, a nationally recognized authority on combating consumer fraud, has spent many years in the Washington, DC area developing numerous programs to educate identity theft victims and consumers on a wide variety of issues,” Fergerson added.

About the ITRC
The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft.  Visit www.idtheftcenter.org.  Victims may contact the ITRC at 888-400-5530.

(9/18/2013) – The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to the understanding of identity theft and related issues, announced today that Paul Bond, Partner with Reed Smith LLP, will serve on its Board of Directors.

Paul is a leader in Reed Smith’s rapidly expanding Data Privacy, Security & Management group and will bring a wealth of experience to the ITRC Board as well as help the organization in its efforts to enhance consumer awareness in the data privacy field.

The ITRC, founded in 1999, is a national non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. It is the ongoing mission of the ITRC to assist victims, educate consumers, research identity theft and increase public and corporate awareness about this problem.

Paul was pleased to accept the nomination, noting, “Tens of thousands of individuals, many with nowhere else to turn, have relied on the help of the Identity Theft Resource Center. Every American stands at risk of identity theft, and we should all support the ITRC in its vital mission.”

Paul has helped Reed Smith’s clients comply with legal requirements for the protection of personal data, whether those requirements arise from contract, state, national, or international law. Paul has counseled a broad swath of clients in hundreds of situations where data had been lost, stolen, or subjected to unauthorized access. Paul is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

The Legal 500 United States has recognized Paul for his work on data security and regulatory compliance. Paul was also featured in the annual “40 Under 40” section of the New Jersey Law Journal, an American Lawyer Media publication, and selected as one of four “Rising Stars” in Privacy and Consumer Protection Law by Law360.

“Paul’s extensive knowledge in the data privacy and security field will allow the ITRC to expand the assistance we provide to victims and consumers to ensure they understand how to minimize their risk of identity theft and build their knowledge of privacy related issues,” said Julie Fergerson, current ITRC Board member. “Paul’s strong sense of altruism combined with his remarkable legal acumen makes him an outstanding addition to the ITRC board,” Fergerson added.

About the ITRC

The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. Visit http://www.idtheftcenter.org. Victims may contact the ITRC at 888-400-5530.

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Contact: media@idtheftcenter.org

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has released a new video explaining medical identity theft. The purpose of the video is to educate the public about the many issues surrounding this topic.  The video was shot as part of an ongoing campaign to increase awareness about medical identity theft.  The campaign was made possible through a grant provided to the ITRC by The Rose Foundation.

The video features Eva Velasquez, President & CEO of the ITRC, in a candid interview format discussing the definition of medical identity theft, how consumers can protect themselves and what the signs are that someone has become a victim of medical identity theft.

“Medical identity theft is a little known, and not well understood issue, as evidenced by our recent medical identity theft survey results,” says Velasquez, “The ITRC is using its established expertise in this field to educate consumers and victims as well as broaden community awareness of this crime. This type of identity theft not only has a significant financial impact on its victims, it can have real life health consequences as well.” Velasquez added.

Shelley Studios, located in San Diego, produced the video, which will be continually distributed online through ITRC’s social networks.  In addition to being available online, it is the hope of the ITRC that organizations involved in the healthcare industry will use the video to educate employees and consumers. Organizations interested in training on the issue of medical identity theft should contact the ITRC.

To view the video, visit the ITRC’s Youtube station.  Viewers who believe that they may be victims of medical identity theft, or consumers who want more information, are urged to call the ITRC at 888.400.5530.

About the ITRC
The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft.  Visit www.idtheftcenter.org.  Victims may contact the ITRC at 888-400-5530.

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Contact:  Nikki Junker
Nikki@idtheftcenter.org
858-444-3287

San Diego, CA  (March 1, 2013)  Identity theft complaints continue to rank number one in the Federal Trade Commission’s list of complaints, with a 32% increase over 2011.  Of the 369,132 complaints reported in 2012, 46.4% involved issues with government documents or benefits fraud.

This represents a drastic spike of nearly 70% over the same types of cases last year. In a state by state comparison, Florida continues to rank first in this type of identity theft, with 72% of the reported complaints involving government tax or benefits fraud.  Georgia (+66%), Mississippi (+58%), Michigan (+54%) and Louisiana (+53%) rounded out the top five states.

In contrast to the raw occurrence rate, those states with the highest rate of change in 2012 over 2011 are as follows: (1) Alaska (30%), (2) Rhode Island (25%), (3) Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maine (23%), (4) Michigan 22%, and (5) Florida and Kansas 21%. (Kansas ranked 35th in percentage of government tax or benefits complaints, but made the top 5 in rate of increase in 2012 over 2011).

The growth in reporting government ID theft, as well as the increase in reporting from several smaller states, could be a reflection of either an increase in this type of crime, or an increase in awareness and reporting of this type of identity theft.  It is likely a combination of the two.  While the IRS doesn’t report complaints directly to the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network, its dedicated effort to build consumer awareness and education about the issue of tax fraud has likely contributed to consumers more often reporting this issue to the FTC, thus capturing this growth.

As with any type of identity theft, consumers need to have a better understanding of what has occurred, in order to further understand who they need to report the issue to – in this case, either law enforcement, a Better Business Bureau, another reporting government agency, or directly to the FTC.

“The Identity Theft Resource Center has also seen a growth in this type of identity theft crime as well”, said ITRC CEO Eva Casey Velasquez.  “These types of cases very often involve the use of Social Security numbers making them more complex than other types of identity theft.  As we are fully into tax season, we anticipate that there will continue to be increases in the reporting of this crime.  Government related identity theft has averaged approximately 25% of total cases handled by the ITRC for the last two years and was 25% of our total cases in January 2013 as well.  We will continue to monitor these trends and will release our 2013 tax time numbers in April.”

In 2012 the number of complaints reported to the Consumer Sentinel Network grew to 2,061,495 up from 1,895,012 in 2011, for an increase of nearly nine percent.   The ITRC, based in San Diego CA, also notes that California, the most populous state in the nation remains 3rd in the number of identity theft complaints per capita.

About the ITRC

The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft.  Visit www.idtheftcenter.org.  Victims may contact the ITRC at 888-400-5530.

Contact:  media@idtheftcenter.org

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nationally recognized non-profit focusing on identity theft and related issues, has just published a whitepaper containing the results of its Public WiFi Usage Survey, which aimed to measure the level of knowledge and usage of public WiFi. The ITRC conducted this survey in order to better understand how consumers perceive and use public WiFi.

This information would then be used to heighten consumer awareness about safe usage of public WiFi.

“While technology seems to be making all of our lives easier, it can also leave us open to unsafe practices in exchange. Many people do not realize that using the Internet at your local café can lead to identity theft,” said Nikki Junker, Social Media Manager for the ITRC.

Some highlights of the study, which was done in conjunction with PRIVATE WiFi, include:

  • ¾ of the respondents had used Public WiFi in coffee shops/restaurants within the last 12 months.
  • 79% of respondents believed that using a free Public WiFi connection can lead to identity theft.
  • Nearly 40% of survey respondents did not know there are ways to protect sensitive data when using Public WiFi.

Click here to view the full whitepaper on the ITRC website. In connection with the release of the survey findings, PRIVATE WiFi created an infographic containing a great deal of information from the study. Click here to view the infographic on PRIVATE WiFi’s website.

About the ITRC

The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. Visit www.idtheftcenter.org. Victims may contact the ITRC at 888-400-5530.

About Private Communications Corporation

Private Communications Corporation is a security technology company that protects personal data and information online. PRIVATE WiFi, the company’s flagship software product, encrypts all computer data across unencrypted WiFi networks, ensuring online privacy for those without access to virtual private networks (VPNs).

San Diego, CA (July 11, 2012):  The Identity Theft Resource Center® recorded 213 breaches for the first six months of 2012, with an astonishing 63.4% of them having no reported attributes.  This represents a doubling in the number of data breaches which did not have any type of attributes identified for the incident, giving the public little or no insight into what happened.This trend makes it obvious that with few exceptions, there is minimal transparency when it comes to reporting breaches. From 2005 through 2011, the ITRC Breach List tracked five categories of breach attributes: insider theft, hacking, data on the move, accidental web/Internet exposure, and subcontractor.  In 2012, employee error/negligence was added as a new attribute to more clearly recognize those data breaches that were not the result of malicious intent.  This is good information for the public to know, both for understanding trends in breach exploits, and to understand what the probable consequences of a particular breach might be for those affected.

However other than breaches reported by the media and a few progressive state websites, there continues to be little or no information available on many data breach events.  The public has no way of knowing just how minor or serious the data exposure was for any given incident.  The media has helped by reporting more details for some breach events, but in general there appears to be ever less transparency about breach events than in previous years.

It is clear that without a mandatory national reporting requirement, that many data breaches will continue to be unreported, or under-reported, and it would appear that the situation is growing worse.

ITRC Breach Report Key Findings

  •  Paper breaches for the first half of 2012 account for nearly 15% of known breaches, down from 17.7% for the same period in 2011.  These types of breaches typically go unnoticed until a consumer reports the problem to local media, as most paper breaches are not required to be reported.  If you want to really understand the threat of these low-tech breaches, contact the US Postal Inspection Service and ask if they consider mail theft a serious problem.
  •  Breaches in the medical/healthcare industry are on pace to hit an 8 year high, and currently represent 27% of the total breach incidents reported so far in 2012.  This number is a drastic increase over the 17% reported for the same period in 2011 and exceeds the previous high of 24% for calendar year 2010.
  •  The banking industry continues to show improvement as that category currently represents only 4% of the total breaches reported on the ITRC Breach List.  This is down significantly from the 8% reported during the first half of 2011, and represents an 8 year low should it continue.
  •  Breaches involving third parties, or subcontractors, doubled over the same period last year, with 14% of identified data breach incidents reporting third party involvement.  These events make the case that although your company may have taken adequate measures to protect information, the contractor you hire may not be as careful.
  •  Malicious attacks involving “hacking”  continue to represent an ever increasing growth, with 30.5% of the breaches so far this year identifying hacking as the root cause, up from the 27.7% reported for the same period in 2011. If this rate increase continues, 2012 will be on pace to have another record high year in this category.   Insider theft, which is also identified as a malicious attack, was down in the first half of 2012, 7.5% compared to 17.3% for the same period in 2011.  This could indicate that companies are getting better with internal controls and vetting of employees.  When combined, these categories represent nearly 40% of all reported breaches.
  •  Breaches involving “Data on the move”  are being recorded at an all-time low.  To date, only 7.5% of the breaches in 2012 have been identified in this category.  This represents a tremendous drop from the 15.6% reported in the first half of 2011.  Hopefully, this indicates a new awareness of companies and employees about the data carried on laptops and mobile devices.  “Accidental” causes are identified in 11.7% of the breach incidents reported; up somewhat from the 9.1% reported during the first half of 2011.  The newly identified employee error/negligence category is identified in 6.1% of the breach incidents reported.
  •  44.4% of publicly reported breaches indicated the number of records exposed, totaling 8.5 million records.  It should be noted that the ITRC Breach Report does not include breach records due to exposure of non-sensitive information, such as email account records in its total number of records.  These 8.5 million records are all related to exposure of sensitive Personal Identifying Information (PII) or other sensitive account information. As such, breach incidents which involve passwords, user names and email addresses may be included on the list but the number of records exposed is not counted as part of the annual total record exposure.  So the records that are totaled consist of those that might contain Social Security numbers, credit/debit credit numbers, financial account numbers or other pieces of information such as driver’s license numbers or medical insurance numbers.
  •  96 breaches (45.1%) reported in the first half of 2012 included the exposure of Social Security Numbers.  This is a significant drop from the 64.5% of the breaches which exposed SSNs during the first half of 2011.
  •  41 breaches (19.2%) involved credit or debit cards, dropping considerably from the 34.6% of the breaches involving credit/debit cards in the same time period during 2011.

The ITRC has long recognized the fact that breaches are being not reported, or under-reported.  Any efforts to accurately quantify the actual number of breaches and resulting number of compromised records are stymied in the absence of mandatory reporting on a national level.  Unfortunately, in the absence of national requirements for breach reporting, this situation is getting worse.

Another challenge continues to be how to define the threat to consumers when the compromised information is not “sensitive” personal information but “non-personal” in nature.   It is well known that this type of information still poses a threat to consumers through spearphishing and social engineering.

For the reports and statistics used for this release, go to www.idtheftcenter.org .

About the ITRC

The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. It is the on-going mission of the ITRC to assist victims, educate consumers, research identity theft and increase public and corporate awareness about this problem.  Victim Hotline: 888-400-5530, Visitwww.idtheftcenter.org

Contact: media@idtheftcenter.org

Click to download the attached file(s):

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) recently conducted a brief Facebook Social Media Survey to measure interaction trends between internet users and Facebook. The ITRC conducted this survey in order to better help victims with Facebook-related identity theft concerns and issues and received 446 responses.

“As our world transforms more and more into a cyber environment, social networking becomes a larger part of our lives. Because of this, it is important to understand how social networking users comprehend the safety risks while engaging on such sites. This can help in efforts to protect consumers by defining problem areas.” says Nikki Junker, Social Media Coordinator for the ITRC.

“The survey results will help the ITRC in developing informative materials and documents. These publications aim to educate consumers in order to help minimize their risk of becoming victims of identity theft and mitigate the losses of those who have already become victims.”

Click here for White Paper

The Identity Theft Resource Center has been made aware of a group operating in California under the name ‘Californians Against Identity Theft’.  The group is claiming that there is a link between the gathering of signatures for ballot initiatives and identity theft.

Using this correlation, the group is pushing to outlaw paid signature gathering for ballot initiatives. The Identity Theft Resource center does not agree with this statement considering that an individual’s name and registered address does not qualify as sensitive personal information.  It is also concerning that many organizations, ourselves included, who have built strong reputations as advocates for consumers against identity theft have no knowledge of this group, or of any work they have done in the field of identity theft.  Along with other organizations, the Identity Theft Resource Center has reached out to Californians Against Identity Theft requesting that they remove the misleading information regarding the threat of identity theft from their campaign.  We have also requested that they make transparent their organization and funding sources.

The Identity Theft Resource Center will continue to monitor this situation with the best intention of the consumer in mind.