SAN FRANCISCO, April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of the West is presenting a regional panel of financial services experts who will discuss identity theft awareness, prevention and recovery as part of the bank's public education efforts.
Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. According to a 2012 Identity Fraud Report released by Javelin Strategy & Research, incidents of identity theft increased by 13% in 2011, with more than 11.6 million adults falling victim to this criminal activity. This increase in identity fraud was also reflected by The Federal Trade Commission, which tracks and distributes a list of top consumer complaints received by the agency annually. For the 12th year in a row, identity fraud topped the 2011 consumer complaints list.
"Bank of the West is raising awareness of identity theft issues so consumers can be mindful of the increasing ways that their personal information might be compromised by criminal activity," said Bank of the West Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Banking Services Donald Duggan. Duggan is also a member of the ITAC board of directors. "The reported rise in identity theft trends indicates that this issue will continue to be relevant for those of us in the financial services industry who support consumer awareness and personal financial safety."
Participants from the Secret Service, ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, and Operation HOPE will join Bank of the West for a public forum – Be Aware! Protect Your Identity –Thursday, April 26 at Mills College in Oakland, beginning at 8:30 AM. Industry perspectives will include:
Bank of the West Chief Security Officer Joe Ford Role of a bank in protecting your identity as well as detecting and reporting fraud
U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Andy Adelmann Reporting ID theft to law enforcement; the role it plays in investigation and prosecution
Operation HOPE Banking Center Vice President Tyrone Cosey How community and nonprofit organizations can assist with identity theft issues
ITAC President Anne Wallace How to recover from identity theft
"As an organization dedicated to identity theft issues, we're seeing an increase in social engineering schemes that use social media and other channels to trick consumers into revealing personal information," said ITAC President Anne Wallace. "It's important that consumers increase their vigilance regarding where and how much information they share online."
About ITAC ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center (www.identitytheftassistance.org), is the national advocate for identity theft victims and a leading voice on identity policy. Millions of consumers have access to the ITAC victim assistance service through our members – the financial services companies who support ITAC and offer it as a free service for their customers. ITAC is dedicated to protecting all consumers through education, research and the criminal prosecution of identity crime. Through our partnership with Intersections Inc, ITAC's world-class victim assistance and identity management service is available to everyone through ITAC Sentinel® (www.itacsentinel.com).
About Bank of the West Founded in 1874, $62.4 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a full range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with nearly 200,000 employees.