ID Theft: Consumer Education Is Key

Anne Wallace of ITAC: Emerging Tech Poses Growing Threat
ID Theft: Consumer Education Is Key
Identity theft can be difficult to nail down. It can spark from the breach of a debit card or the misuse of a consumer's Social Security number.

In an exclusive interview, Anne Wallace, president of the Identity Theft Assistance Center [ITAC], says consumers' increasing use of emerging technology, such as mobile banking and social networking, is only compounding the risk. "The crooks are ever-creative," Wallace says. "They're always exploiting new schemes to extract information from consumers."

Pointing to mobile banking and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, Wallace says ITAC members have an obligation to educate consumers about the security threats posed by emerging technology. "It's so important to keep talking to people about the old threats, the new threats -- on a recurring basis," she adds.

Among the reasons why financial institutions should take action:

  • Compromised consumer accounts hurt a banking institution's reputation and can impact its financial well-being - "It always comes down to dollars and cents," she says;
  • ITAC educates consumers to help reduce new-account fraud;
  • ITAC assists bank and credit union members with ID Theft Red Flags Rule compliance.

"Fighting identity fraud is not something financial institutions can do by themselves," Wallace says.

Wallace is a nationally recognized expert on privacy, financial services and payments law. She began her legal career with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board, where she served as assistant director of the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs and implemented key consumer credit laws, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

ITAC was founded seven years ago as non-profit consumer-focused organization, with the goal of improving consumer education and protection. ITAC has 100 members, which also serve on the Financial Services Roundtable. About 35 of those members are financial institutions or financial-services providers that are directly offering services to consumers.

For more on protecting customers from identity theft, please listen to the entire interview with Anne Wallace.

About the Author

Tracy Kitten

Tracy Kitten

Former Director of Global Events Content and Executive Editor, BankInfoSecurity & CUInfoSecurity

Kitten was director of global events content and an executive editor at ISMG. A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she covered the financial sector for over 10 years. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2010, she covered the financial self-service industry as the senior editor of ATMmarketplace, part of Networld Media. Kitten has been a regular speaker at domestic and international conferences, and was the keynote at ATMIA's U.S. and Canadian conferences in 2009. She has been quoted by, ABC News, and MSN Money.

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