Coalition to crack down on identity theft

Coalition to crack down on identity theft

A group comprising leading IT vendors, e-commerce companies and financial services organisations are to work together to combat the increasing menace of online identity theft.

Speaking at the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Outlook Forum, in Sydney, Howard A. Schmidt, vice president and chief information security officer of online auctioneer – and alliance member – eBay, said the emerging Coalition on Identity Theft will look to expand public education campaigns against online identity theft to protect consumers and give them confidence in Internet commerce; help promote technology and self-help approaches for preventing and dealing with online identity theft, and document and share non-personal information about emerging online fraudulent activity in order to try to stay ahead of the fraudsters.

Additionally, the Coalition - whose founding members include Amazon, Microsoft, Network Associates and Visa, among others – will work with governments to "cultivate an environment that protects consumers and businesses, and ensures effective enforcement of criminal penalties against cyber thieves."

The Coalition is reaching out to other companies and organisations, internationally who are interested in seeking educational, legal and technical solutions to protect consumers and companies from online fraud and safeguard the future of e-business.

Harris Miller, President of ITAA (Information Technology Association of America) and executive secretary of the coalition, said: "Most identity theft comes from offline sources, such as personal information and documents thrown away by the trusting consumer in their usual trash disposal. While a small percentage of the problems come from online sources, recent email frauds have involved notifying a consumer about a fictitious account problem and asking the individual to supply a user-ID and password, social security number, credit card information or other sensitive data. Scam artists then use the information to operate phony auctions, purchase merchandise under an assumed name, apply for loans, or conduct other illegal activity. Ultimately, the solution is a shared responsibility among industry, government and consumers to advance education and awareness, stronger penalties, cooperation within industry and law enforcement, and work together to prevent the spread of this problem into e-commerce."

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