Stealing Identities

Nearly 10 million people had their identities stolen in 2002; industry fights back
A coalition of 12 companies, including, eBay, Microsoft, Visa, and WholeSecurity, last week launched a campaign to help prevent identity theft by raising consumer awareness and sharing information on fraud.

The Coalition on Online Identity Theft faces a tough challenge. Nearly 10 million people suffered from identity theft last year, and 27.3 million were hit in the past five years, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission. Financial losses to businesses

last year were almost $48 billion, and the cost to consumers was $5 billion. The FTC hopes the report helps galvanize the fight against identity theft and credit-card fraud among business, government, and consumers.

The coalition may need to expand. "Banks, retailers, and cell-phone providers must be on board to nip the problem," says Avivah Litan, an analyst at research firm Gartner. "Get the cyberthieves when they apply for a cell phone or a credit card."

Editor's Choice
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Omdia
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer