Will a National ID Card Prevent Identity Theft?

Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano

In a word, no. A national ID card, on its own, will not prevent all forms of identity theft. In order for new account fraud to be entirely avoidable, a number of other factors would have to come into play, effectively establishing accountability through identity proofing. Effective identity proofing is also necessary in order to reliably prevent medical and criminal identity theft.

As you might have guessed, identity proofing simply means proving that individuals are who they say they are. Identity proofing often begins with personal questions, like the name of a first grade teacher or the make and model of a first vehicle, that only the actual person would be able to answer. Of course, this technique is not foolproof, and now that personal information is so readily available over the Internet, knowledge-based authentication is probably on its way to extinction. The next step is documentation, such as a copy of a utility bill or a mortgage statement. These types of identifying documents can be scavenged from the trash, but they are more effective proof when combines with personal questions. Biometric features, such as fingerprints or iris scans, can help further authenticate an individual’s identity.

Identity scoring is another effective identity proofing method. An identity score is a system for tagging and verifying the legitimacy of an individual’s public identity. Identity scores are being used to prevent fraud in business and to verify and correct public records. Identity scores incorporate a broad set of consumer data, including components such as personal identifiers, public and government records, Internet data, corporate data, predicted behavior patterns based on empiric data, self-assessed behavior patterns, and credit records.

USA Today reports that in the four years since Congress enacted the Real ID Act, which was intended to make it more difficult to obtain a fraudulent driver’s license, the act has languished due to opposition from several states. Real ID supporters say it will not only deter terrorism but also reduce identity theft, curb illegal immigration and reduce underage drinking, all by making the nation’s identification-of-choice more secure. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is proposing the repeal of the Real ID Act.

The Real ID Act has many provisions that are forms of identity proofing along with the potential for biometrics across the board. When Indiana checked its six million drivers against a Social Security database, it ended up invalidating 19,000 licenses that didn’t match. When Indiana began using “facial recognition” technology to make its photos secure, the state caught a man who had 149 licenses with the same photo but different names.

Is Napolitano moving backwards or forwards? Do your research and decide for yourself.

Protect yourself from identity theft;

1. Get a credit freeze. Go online now and search “credit freeze” or “security freeze” and go to consumersunion.org and follow the steps for the state you live in. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name.

2. Invest in Intelius Identity Protect. While not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, you can effectively manage your personal identifying information by knowing what’s buzzing out there in regards to YOU.

Personal Identity Profile – Find out if you’re at risk for identity theft with a detailed report of your identity information, including a current credit report, address history, aliases, and more.

24/7 Identity Monitoring and Alerts – Prevent identity theft with automatic monitoring that scans billions of public records daily and alerts you to suspicious activity.

Identity Recovery Assistance – Let professionals help you recover your identity if you ever become a victim of identity theft.

Identity Theft Speaker Robert Siciliano discussing identity theft on Fox News

Fake IDs, Fake Passports Easy To Make or Buy

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Fake IDs aren’t just a tool to get in a bar, they are a significant threat to personal security and national security.

Who in their teens and college years didn’t have a fake ID? I did.

At 17, I was 23! That meant I could buy alcohol, go to bars and take others to “R” rated movies. It also meant I was a ROCK STAR. For a minute.

A friend of mine peeled apart Massachusetts IDs and melted crayons together to create colors that matched the IDs colors. He would apply the crayon to the face of the ID and alter the persons age. For example if you were born in 1968, he would color the left side of the 8 the same color as the ID making it a 3. 1963 gave you five extra years to party!!

Then he’d just seal it back up and voila! You were a ROCK STAR.

CNN reported the Government Accountability Office did a test. An investigator used a fake ID to get a real passport. Once he had the passport he bought an airline ticket and went through security. How stupid big is that hole in security?

Former DHS Secretary Chertoff said, and I agree; “I’m going to submit to you that in the 21st Century, the most important asset that we have to protect as individuals and as part of our nation is the control of our identity, who we are, how we identify ourselves, whether other people are permitted to masquerade and pretend to be us, and thereby damage our livelihood, damage our assets, damage our reputation, damage our standing in our community.”

The problem here is the speed of technology has far outpaced the security of our identifying documents. Anyone with a computer, scanner, printer, laminators and for crying out loud CRAYONS can create breeder documents getting real IDs.

This makes it very difficult to prevent identity theft when anyone can be you any time.

What contributes to the problem is there are thousands of variations of birth certificates, dozens of social security cards and a couple hundred different drivers’ licenses in circulation. Very little security and no significant standards preventing counterfeiting. I’m sure plenty will argue this point with me, however the fact remains, fake IDs are everywhere.

Identity theft protection becomes very difficult.

While technology certainly exists to properly identify and authenticate through numerous technologies, privacy advocates and ignorant politicians will fight till the death to prevent their implementation for 2 reasons; 1. Cost, which is a naive argument. 2. Privacy issues.

Cost; spend whatever it takes to properly identify and authenticate. Privacy; is DEAD. Security is the issue we need to be concerned about. Manage out circumstances and tighten things up. The UAE has an “Identity Card” in place that is the best active solution I’m aware of.

There are hundreds of solutions being proposed every day, but cost and privacy continue to creep up. One argument some have is technologies such as RFID and biometrics are the equivalent to the Mark of The Beast. That just goes right over my head.

The Real ID Act has been passed, slammed and revisited. It is the first step towards effective authentication. Fight it as you might, its coming.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discusses Identity Theft and the rampant use of Social Security numbers Here

I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information

Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security: News Media Chronicles Robert Siciliano’s Disagreement with Policymakers on REAL ID Act

(BOSTON, Mass. – April 14, 2008 – IDTheftSecurity.com) Even as news that data breaches from just the first quarter of 2008 compromised the security of more than 8 million unique data, policymakers in Washington, D.C. continued to resist efforts to implement the REAL ID Act, which aims to synchronize major forms of identification with a national ID. Politicians of any ideological stripe who oppose the legislation are doing a disservice to efforts that aim to curb the rate of fraud, said widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano.

CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com 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. An experienced 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," on FOX News, and elsewhere.

"Policymakers who resist efforts to synchronize the nation’s methods of identification through a national ID help neither those who want privacy nor those who want greater security," said Siciliano. "They instead pander, wittingly or not, to voters who fail to understand that privacy is an illusion.”

Security breaches in the first quarter of 2008 compromised about 8.3 million unique data records, an April 9th news release from the Identity Theft Resource Center stated. Dating back three years, Siciliano’s views on a revamped national identification system, which he has said would greatly hamper identity thieves’ ability to capitalize on the preponderance of data breaches, have appeared in print in response to opposing viewpoints from policymakers.

In May of 2005, a write-up of Siciliano’s appeared alongside one from 2008 U.S. Presidential Candidate and Republican Senator Ron Paul in the Costco Connection. Sicliano argued that "[o]ur current IDs are dumb," consisting of only "pieces of paper with typed words and photos laminated in plastic." For his own part, Senator Paul countered that "[a] national ID card…will allow the federal government to inappropriately the movements and transactions of every American." But Siciliano noted that "[e]verything we do from the time we are born is [already] documented.… Now we must manage our circumstances."

On March 27, the Counterterrorism Blog identified other policymakers who have opposed the REAL ID Act, such as Democrat Senator Richard Durbin and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander. And comments from Siciliano on a national ID again appeared with Senator Paul’s, this time in a story that saw widespread coverage earlier this month.

“That privacy no longer exists is lamentable,” Siciliano continued. “But without privacy, we need security more than ever. When politicians soapbox about privacy, they mischaracterize the security challenges facing this country, and citizens then clamor for solutions that don’t exist. Citizens who say that they want privacy in response to mischaracterizations of the problems the nation’s identification system faces must hear the truth: Privacy is no longer possible, but they in fact have a right, in privacy’s wake, to security—the right to know that their data is secure when in the hands of others."

The YouTube video below shows Siciliano on "FOX Newschannel,” where he explains how the ubiquity of Social Security numbers as universal identifiers helps thieves online and off-line. Those wishing to learn how to protect themselves against identity theft may view video of Siciliano at VideoJug.


About IDTheftSecurity.com

Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com 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 "The Today Show," CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, "FOX News," "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 Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, 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, www.IDTheftSecurity.com; blog, www.realtysecurity.com/blog; and YouTube page, http://youtube.com/stungundotcom.

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

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