Identity Theft Prevention: Reclaiming the Upper Hand

Estimates of identity theft are growing but financial institutions are now outfitted with new solutions to curb crime.

Identity theft steals headlines on a daily basis, but the real story may be hiding behind all the hype, according to a new report, “Identity Theft Prevention: Reclaiming the Upper Hand.” The report analyzes the growing problem of identity theft and outlines recommendations banks can follow to reduce risk.

Fraud has become a considerable concern for individuals and is taking a toll on the financial services industry. If a bank has not been directly hit by fraud, it has undoubtedly applied resources preventing it. And consumers are increasingly calling on the industry to take action against identity theft.

Although the number of victims is difficult to determine, one thing is certain�the number of victims is increasing. In 2002, the industry estimated that there were over 250,000 victims in one year. Today, estimates are closer to 10 million.

“Identity theft is a difficult hurdle to overcome,” says Ariana-Michele Moore, senior analyst and author of the report. “Some power remains in the hands of financial institutions, but much is also beyond their control. Personal information is increasingly easier to come by, and it is impossible to call out a criminal when they hold all the right information.”

But fortunately for financial institutions and their customers, there are ways to help prevent the dissemination of personal information and its illegal use. The report outlines various tactics, from technology solutions to simple solutions using a pad and paper, to government regulations.

“The best solutions address not only today�s identity theft but account for mutations of fraud that will inevitably occur down the road,” says Moore.

This report is an update to Celent�s July 2002 report, “ID Theft: Protecting the Customer�Protecting the Institution.” The new report explores the issues surrounding identity theft today, the challenges banks are facing or will face, and many of the available solutions. The report also examines the emergence of consumer-oriented identity theft tools and describes tactics to prevent fraud.

A table of contents for this 45-page report is available online.

About Celent

Celent’s service offering falls into two categories, consulting and research, each of which is dedicated to technology in the financial services industry. We help banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies use IT to enter new markets in the shortest possible timeframes. All of our services are geared towards facilitating better informed, faster decision making. For more information visit