Identity Theft is Gonna Getcha

By: Peter Marshall

You betta watch out. Identity theft is gonna getcha, baby.

It's not surprising that an identity theft protection company would highlight the growing risk and cost of identity theft. But you don't need to take our word for it - some of the best research organizations in the world are sounding the alarm. They're confirming that it'll get much worse before it gets better, with huge costs for both companies and consumers.

Gartner Group, perhaps the preeminent research and analysis firm in the world, recently released a report estimating that identity theft now victimizes 15 million Americans every year, up 50% from 2003. Even worse, the average losses to the individual victims have skyrocketed 250% over that time, now almost $3,300 per incident. This is higher than similar estimates from the FTC (which naturally bases its estimates on identity theft filings to the FTC - not exactly what most people do first when they're victimized) and Javelin Research, which is funded by large financial services firms with a strong interest in reducing public fears about identity theft. Gartner's press release on their report is available here. Their lead analyst for the report, Avivah Litan, is a widely known expert on identity theft, and has developed a deep understanding of the evolving risks over years of focused research.

In the first few months of 2007, cyber identity theft (through increasingly sophisticated computer-based attacks) also ballooned, roughly doubling the rate from 2006. According to a recent report on online fraud from Cyveillance, email links to criminal websites (phishing) are up 50%, while malware attacks (virus and spyware intrusions designed to steal personal data) are up over 200%. The international marketplace for identity sales continues to grow rapidly, and is becoming far more sophisticated, as documented in a series of very throughly researched articles by Tom Zeller, in the New York Times. The unstoppable growth of our digital, data-based, web-connected economy guarantees the continued proliferation of computer threats and the increasing vulnerability of our data.

And the threat to companies is even greater. The Ponemon Institute recently released its annual report on corporate breaches of personal identity data that could be used to commit identity fraud. Astoundingly, this problem has reached epidemic proportions, with over 100 million such records compromised in just the last two years. This issue affects every company in America - almost one in three Americans have had their confidential identity data exposed in just two years, including large proportions of employee data, student data, patient data, and of course, customer data.

Perhaps even worse (if possible), recent legal changes make notification to the exposed individuals mandatory in most cases. As a result, companies shell out enormous sums to provide some post-breach protection to the affected persons, more to implement expensive internal changes, and even more to persuade fearful customers to come back. The extremely rigorous and careful Ponemon study for 2006, available here, documented average hard dollar response costs over $50 per record, and total costs of $182 per record.

Not a pretty picture. Companies are at severe risk, with the cost of protection skyrocketing. Individuals are rightly concerned about their rapidly increasing exposure and cost. And we haven't even talked about the average of several hundred hours per victim to recover, and the enormous and sometimes lifelong impact to every aspect of your life, from credit rating to medical insurance and even false arrest.

We believe that you need multiple layers of protection. Comprehensive prevention, dealing with many threats, always up to date. Step by step guidance and specialized tools covering everything from free credit reports to computer protection, personal data privacy, and more. Advanced early detection and alerting, that monitors billions of public and private records and applies sophisticated algorithms to identify risks. And if you are victimized, expert recovery advocates that will create and manage a custom recovery program for your specific situation, performing steps on your behalf if you wish, and insurance to cover the costs of recovery.

We provide this kind of advanced protection within:

&bullEmployee and member benefit programs - very high quality protection, very strong value

&bullData breach response & recovery - complete and effective protection for breach victims at extremely low cost, plus best practice guidance and tools for enterprises: rapid response, rapid recovery, and ongoing robust protection.

&bullProgram licensing - we license our unique "identity protection console" to Financial Services and Technology partners for inclusion in their products.

We're not just any identity theft company - we're genuine experts in the field, with decades of senior leadership experience in advanced technology, enterprise solutions, and identity management and security. We don't sell programs direct to consumers. We are focused on enterprise guidance and enterprise programs, drawing on our unique capabilities to help our corporate and institutional customers dramatically reduce risk and cost, and recover from exposures quickly, effectively, and cheaply. We can help protect our corporate clients as well as their workforce or membership, and we pride ourselves on our comprehensive and up-to-date expertise, and our high quality enterprise service delivery.

Learn more. Talk to us about new, high impact employee benefits - we offer a low-cost, turnkey employee benefit program that you can turn on in 10 minutes, including online enrollment, full support and benefits administration - and high employee satisfaction.

Talk to us about rapid response for data breaches - inform, control, guide, and help your people recover, quickly and cheaply, following our proven, best practice approach. Then get safe, by implementing internal changes that will protect your company against future exposures and future losses.

And talk to us about bundling our advanced solution into your own financial or technology products - a great attractor, a great fit, and a revenue source for you.

Identity Theft
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