New study to comb Secret Service ID theft case-files

By , IDG News Service |  Security

Next Monday, researchers plan to release the first-ever analysis of U.S. Secret Service case information on identity theft.

The study provides new information about the victims of ID theft as well as the criminals and the methods they use, according to Gary Gordon, executive director of Utica College's Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP), which is writing the report.

"CIMIP was interested in filling gaps in the knowledge about identity theft and believed that an exploratory study of law enforcement cases with an identity theft component would provide some new information," Gordon said in an e-mail interview. This research is unique because it looks across all three aspects -- the crime, victim and offender -- and across the lifecycle of the crime, from the time the crime was detected through arrest and the disposition of the case."

This is the first time the Secret Service has permitted such a review of its closed case files, he said.

The college has been working with a number of partners, including the Secret Service, IBM Corp. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, since the Center's creation in mid-2006 to study the methods used by ID thieves and to help corporations and law enforcement prevent this type of crime.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research Inc., identity theft cost U.S.businesses and consumers an estimated $49.3 billion in 2006.

The study will be released Monday at a Utica-sponsored crime conference being held in McLean, Virginia. Utica College is a small private college based in Utica, New York, that offers programs in economic crime and fraud management.

Historically, the Secret Service has been chartered with protecting the U.S. president and cracking down on counterfeiters, but in the 1980s its role was expanded, and it now investigates financial and identity theft crimes.

Monday's study will include Secret Service data on "insider threats, points of compromise, and vulnerabilities," Utica's media alert said.

Representatives from the Secret Service were not immediately able to comment on the study.

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