A dozen US companies including Microsoft, Visa, digital ID firm Verisign and e-retailers eBay and Amazon are teaming up to form an industry coalition to develop ways to fight online identity theft.
The Virginia-based Information Technology Association of America (ITTA) will be the administrator for the group, which also includes digital security firms Network Associates, Business Software Alliance and McAfee Security.
The ITTA says the group, called the Coalition on Online Identity Theft, will work together to launch a public education campaign, promote technology and self-help measures for preventing and dealing with online identity theft, record and share non-personal information about emerging online fraudulent activity.
Harris Miller, president of the ITTA, says although most identity theft comes from offline sources, such as personal information and documents thrown away by consumers, a small percentage of the problems do come from online sources.
Miller cites recent Web banking frauds that attempt to dupe customers into giving over personal financial data: "Scam artists then use the information to operate phony auctions, purchase merchandise under an assumed name, apply for loans, or conduct other illegal activity."
He adds: "Ultimately, the solution is a shared responsibility among industry, government and consumers to advance education and awareness, stronger penalties, cooperation within industry and law enforcement, and work together to prevent the spread of this problem."