In early 2010, the pilot program was implemented in more than two dozen cities and police departments across the San Francisco Bay area including The City of Hayward, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County. The ITC is unique because it is a grassroots initiative that is implemented community by community and supported by trained counselors in those communities, as well as banks, credit unions, and law enforcement, to help identity theft victims. It takes identity theft awareness a step further by implementing peer-to-peer education at the school level, with seniors and other groups. By the end of 2010, more than 100 cities and communities across Northern California are expected to be participating in the ITC, creating a model and launch pad for other Councils to form across the country.
The Identity Theft Council was developed by Neal O’Farrell, a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and cybercrime. Intersections Inc., a leading provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services, is a founding partner of the ITC. Other partners and supporters include ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN), and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).
“Identity theft is an intangible crime that not everyone is equipped to handle – unfortunately, most identity theft cases end up at the bottom of the stack of police reports and more urgent local crimes take precedence. This leaves victims feeling neglected, frustrated and alone to deal with a crime that can last from several months to several years,” said Neal O’Farrell, founder and executive director of the ITC. “Every victim of identity theft wants to know that as soon as they file a report, it will be acted on immediately. We launched the ITC to provide identity theft victims with a local support network they can turn to for help in recovering from this often devastating crime.”
The ITC is working with consumer advocates and identity theft prevention experts to help build its educational program and to help resolve identity theft cases.
“Intersections has been a pioneer in the identity theft industry for over a decade and we’ve seen the damaging effects of what this growing threat can do to consumers,” said Michael Stanfield, CEO and founder of Intersections Inc. “When the concept of the Identity Theft Council was first presented to us, we immediately jumped on board because we believe strongly in giving back to the community. Our mission aligns perfectly with the ITC: to help empower and protect identity theft victims through education and support.”
Recently, the ITC kicked off its first Junior Counselor Program at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco’s Sunset District. Through this program – that will expand to schools across the country – students will have the opportunity to learn about identity theft and participate in awareness training classes provided at their own high schools and educational facilities.
“The Identity Theft Council takes an innovative approach to tackling the problem of identity theft,” said Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). “With its unique peer-to-peer education program that collaborates with schools, seniors and local organizations, this program can help protect Californians in many communities across the state.”
The official launch of the ITC is being held today, October 27, at The Fort Mason Center in San Francisco at 10:30 am PT. The event will feature The Honorable Senator Mark Leno, Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, the District Attorney’s office, and other ITC participants and sponsors. For more information on the launch event, please visit: http://www.identitytheftcouncil.org/events?view=event
About the Identity Theft Council
Established in early 2010 in the San Francisco Bay area, the Identity Theft Council (ITC) is a non-profit, grassroots organization that provides identity theft victims with free, ongoing support and identity recovery assistance in their local communities. The Council is creating a nationwide network of local partnerships between law enforcement, the financial industry, and volunteers in local communities to provide hands-on support for victims of identity theft, help law enforcement provide a more coordinated response, and improve identity theft education and awareness community by community, across the country.
The Council was founded by security expert Neal O’Farrell with the support of local law enforcement and Intersections Inc. National partners of the Council include Intersections Inc., Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN), and ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center. For more information or to become involved in the Identity Theft Council, please visit: http://www.identitytheftcouncil.org/. Follow us on Twitter @IDTheftCouncil or visit our blog at: http://blog.identitytheftcouncil.org/