Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security Says the Behavior and Attributes of Security-Enhanced Credit Cards Must Be Simple for Users

(BOSTON, Mass. – Aug. 7, 2007 – Last week researchers touted the characteristics of a hypothetical high-functioning “dream credit card” that would offer consumer tools to prevent and detect credit card fraud. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, commended the idea of such a card, but said simpler solutions already exist through technology that relies on credit cards’ existing attributes and relieves the consumer of the need to implement his or her own security measures.

“It’s a commendable idea to suggest the development of a highly functional credit card that dissuades fraudulent activity,” said Siciliano. “At the same time, the market continues to ignore technology already available that, if implemented en masse, would drastically reduce the incidence of credit card fraud and, by corollary, identity theft.”

CEO of and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. A longtime identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News, and elsewhere.

A press release from Javelin Strategy & Research, dated Aug. 1, detailed the security features of what the organization termed a dream credit card. Javelin researchers claimed that a hypothetical credit card with the functionality they announced not only held the promise of putting consumers in control of security measures against identity fraud, but also presented “a golden opportunity” for card issuers “to increase loyalty and retention, and strengthen relationships and their brand reputation,” according to Javelin President James Van Dyke, quoted in the release. The credit card proposed includes options for consumers to enhance their own cards’ security levels.

“The idea that security is a marketing tool is a solid one,” said Siciliano. “This is a concept that card issuers ought to embrace. But, too often, industry places too much hope in solutions touted as panaceas to the fundamental problem of securely authenticating the card user at the point of sale. And, with too many steps or choices, security of any type becomes too confusing for the typical consumer, who, prizing ease of use above all, isn’t sufficiently adept at setting options on limits, setting up instant messaging, or tooling around with security settings.”

Siciliano advised card issuers to consider simpler technologies that rely on existing credit card attributes—and very little on consumers’ attention to their credit cards’ security features beyond the proactive step of making the decision to get a card that’s more secure.

Every credit card, for instance, has a magnetic strip on the back, composed from the slurry that comprises billions of microscopic particles. Like DNA, no two credit cards’ magnetic strips are alike; each is unique. MagnePrint®, from the company of the same name, is a technology that assigns an identity to this uniqueness, a fingerprint unlike any other, at the credit card’s point of manufacture. As Siciliano mentioned in his article for the August 2007 edition of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report, complementing hardware known as MagTek® works in concert with MagnePrint at the point of sale (POS) to protect transactions from fraud.

“Card issuers might market their cards’ security features with great success,” Siciliano concluded. “But a game-changing, new breed of secure credit card must seem, to the consumer, exactly like the previous breed in terms of how to use it.”

Readers may view CNBC footage on YouTube, below, that features Siciliano discussing debit card and credit card scams. Readers may learn how to protect themselves against identity theft, a major concern for anyone whose electronic communication devices have been hacked, by viewing video of Siciliano at VideoJug.


Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.

A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” NBC’s “Today Show,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Mademoiselle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.

Visit Siciliano’s Web site,; blog,; and YouTube page,

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
CEO of
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)

The media may also contact:

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557