Reggie Ball, founder and president of startup iSekurity, has a message for identity thieves: "If you mess with our members, we are going after you. We are going to find you, and we are going to stop you."
Ball isn't the kind of guy who jokes around. In 30 years with the U.S. Secret Service, he served on the presidential protection details for Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr., and he was a team leader on the Secret Service elite Counter Assault Team (CAT). And he's assembled a team of about 100 other former federal law enforcement officers -- many with resumés just as impressive -- to create iSekurity, an identity theft protection service that will be offered as a new form of "insurance" by corporate benefits departments.
ISekurity was formed, in part, out of frustration over the lack of alternatives offered to identity theft victims, Ball explains.
"Since 9/11, most of [federal law enforcement's] efforts in cybercrime have been put into terrorism and other threats to national security," he observes. "Local law enforcement doesn't have the resources to do very much. Credit protection services may warn you of potential fraud, but they don't do anything about it. So there's this huge valley where nothing's being done. A lot of identity fraud cases don't even get investigated."
Riding into that valley is iSekurity, which officials describe as a "global network" of former law enforcement agents who work on the victim's behalf -- first to prevent identity theft and, if it happens, to investigate it.
On the front end, iSekurity offers a service called Sekure Scan, which searches a wide variety of data sources on the user's behalf to detect patterns that might indicate a possible identity theft. "In most cases, the information is stolen long before the fraud occurs," Ball says. "If we can act in that window, we might be able to stop the thief from using the data before anything happens to the member."
If a member is defrauded, iSekurity's investigative network goes to work to identify the criminal. "We may not be active today, but we still have our credentials," Ball says. "We have agents in every state. We still have relationships with all of the major law enforcement agencies. If we give them a nearly completed case file, they are going to close it."
It may sound a bit blustery for a newly formed company to promise to find a victim's identity thief anywhere on the globe -- something that, in many cases, major law enforcement agencies haven't been able to do. But iSekurity is backing its promise with a guarantee.
"If we can't identify the thief within 12 months of the crime, we'll pay you $11,000," Ball says. "How's that for a guarantee?"
While most of iSekurity is made up of ex-feds, the company does have a solid business plan. Just two weeks ago, it hired Susan Kampe, a former CEO and most recently vice president and general manager of IT for $34 billion Johnson Controls, as its new CEO. And the company is offering its services in a practical, insurance-like business model.
"We do have services for individuals, but we're focusing most of our efforts on corporations," Kampe says. Companies can purchase one-year, three-year, or ten-year plans on behalf of all of their employees, or they can make it a special benefit for select groups, she notes. The cost of the service could be anywhere from $2 to $24 per individual per month, depending on the number of employees and the length of the contract.
The idea behind iSekurity is to allow customers to do something about identity theft, rather than just sit there and take it, Ball says: "We've seen some terrible things happen to people, and they just had no one to help. We're going to do something about it."
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