Identity Theft, as seen at WVRC on February 8th
We began in our regular California Room with the Pledge, led by PP DAVE WHITEHEAD. Next up was LENNY, and the song became You Are My Sunshine, again A. Capella. LENORE MULRYAN gave a thoughtful Invocation, thanking a number of members for their support and help while she was away in Mexico. These included CHRIS BRADFORD and SHANE WAARBROEK on Ambassadorial Scholars, GEORGE DEA for his example of caring, Counselor RUDY ALVAREZ, coaching students, and Scholars Mina Soroosh and Lee Broekman for their excellent Representations of Rotary throughout Europe “For all these dedicated people we give thanks.” LENORE, well done, as usual and their recognition was well deserved.
We had two visiting Rotarians, Angi Ma Wong, who is Senior Assistant Governor, and belongs to the Palos Verdes Sunset Club, and Jim Snead, who has also been with us before. MARK ROGO brought his mother, and LENNY was with two Number Ones his son, Don, and wife, Sunny. HOMER NEWMAN introduced Katia Vaisberg, and Gabrielle Schaefer, from our Rotaract Club. SEAN McMILLAN was called on the carpet to explain his presence last Friday at a mysterious convocation of what he described as several Past Presidents, among them DON NELSON and CHRIS GAYNOR. SEAN contented that he attended because they needed somebody to plead, but this didn’t save him from a fifty-buck fine. While not positive in this guess, I believe there might have been some wagering over combinations of numbers which may have been involved here. If that estimate is true, SEAN probably made money anyway….
PEGGY BLOOMFIELD provided a couple of announcements. First, some open reservations for the Sweetheart Brunch this Saturday have become available, but only on payment by cash or check (no credit cards, that is). She also reminded us that the 5280 District Conference is set for April 26 to 29th at the Bahia Resort in San Diego (at Mission Bay). This is always a fun event, and PEGGY had Applications on each table.
CHRIS BRADFORD spoke about the Ambassadorial Scholarship Program. Applications are due by March 16th, and the Interviews are on April 18th. He noted that past Scholars Lee Broekman and Mina Soroosh had been most helpful in setting up their four information meetings, all of which were well attended. This program is available to applicants of non-Rotarian families and is a better scholarship than a Fullbright, for example. CHRIS reminded us that if we have possible candidates, further information is available either from SHANE or himself. The upcoming International Convention is set for June 17th to 20th in Salt Lake City, and several members raised their hands indicating an interest in attending. Among the advantages of being present in SLC would be to gather ideas for 2008, when the RI Convention will be in Los Angeles. Katia Vaisberg, who is VP of our Rotaract Club, announced their plans to charter a bus for a day trip to an orphanage in Tijuana, on Saturday February 17th. The cost is $25.00 for adults, and less for children and the contact is their President, SEEMA PATEL (909) 964-5306.
Angi Ma Wong spoke about the 9th Annual Rotary Program celebrating the Chinese New Year. She is the organizer, and last year they had 250 attending so it is a going concern. This year the Gala will be held on February 17th, at the Empress Pavilion in Chinatown it features great food and exotic entertainment, and Angi can still accept your reservation. You can reach her at (310) 541-8818 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the District Office at (310) 670-9792 - but call right away, since the deadline is upon us. Angi also reminded us of the coming Group Study Exchange. One group will be visiting the Philippines starting March 17th, and the group in May will be going to Mexico. Both programs still have openings this is for young professionals 25 to 40, who can spend a month away from their job. It is a most worthwhile experience, and one condition is that they not be related to a Rotarian. Angi will be leading the Mexico contingent. Again, give her a ring for more information, please. She then presented HENRY TSENG with some presents for his upcoming 100th birthday! These included oranges, which represent gold, thus allowing Annie to continue her buying habits. Another present was peaches, which represent Long Life. The final present was a small bag containing raw peanuts in shells and black watermelon seeds this helps to foster fertility, particularly for his grandson Martin and wife Becca.
(I hope you all note the exactness of these reports they may not be worth a damn, but by God, they are ACCURATE!).
SHANE WAARBROEK introduced our Speaker, Ron Williams. Mr. Williams is the Founder and CEO of Talon Corporate Security Consulting & Investigation. He was with the Secret Service for 22 years, and for the last 12 years has been in private sector security. SHANE organized an information meeting for Talon several months ago, and over 100 attended the downtown meeting. With that indication of interest, he felt WVRC could perhaps benefit from knowing of their service.
His subject today started out to be Trade Secret Theft, which was covered in his power point presentation but he began to feel that Identity Theft was of more interest to our club, so that became the focus of his remarks. He asked for a show of hands as to what were the fastest growing crimes today, and he answered his own question with Identity Theft. Retail Theft is #2, and Trade Secret Theft is #3. Retail theft collected 54 million dollars, and of that amount, about 25 million was provided to terrorist organizations. The apparent importance of Identity Theft is that it is estimated one out of ten of us have been victimized.
While today, many of those who are victims do not suffer any direct financial loss, the financial institutions, which back up theft protection, simply pass on these costs to their customers. One report says that the fraud basis when the Secret Service took over in 1983 was on a 9 basis, and today it’s a 3. The acceptable level is 5, so anything over that is cause for concern, and below that, nothing much to worry about. He asked how many of us knew about California law SB 1386. This specifies that whenever Identity Theft is know to have occurred, it is the responsibility of the organization where it occurred to notify all persons in their network that a crime has been committed. Passed in 2003, the first instance of its being applied was the Wells Fargo case. A consultant had his laptop stolen, which contained personal records of many Wells Fargo Customers. It cost the bank a huge amount of money to repair the damage, of course.
He next asked how many in our audience had janitors at work in their buildings after hours? They can go through your trash, your desk, or whatever is available and sometimes there is no one there to see what they are doing. There is no one silver bullet to protect yourself but there are things you can do that will help. Bank Tellers can be prime suspects here. So what is a third support that is needed to make the crime system workable? Taxi drivers because they can transport data! They are mobile, and can do pickups and drops. If you get into a cab, and the driver is on the phone a lot, particularly in a foreign language, you should consider that he might be such a carrier.
An example. You order food at a restaurant. As the waiter takes your credit card to the cashier, he slides it thru a skimming device on his belt, and this records all your data card number, name, address, sometimes the pin number on the back side. At the end of his shift, he downloads all this information, and then sells it to a programmer. That person does the research to create your card for use by another person entirely! Now, I’m not what anyone would consider to be computer literate but this example scares me to death!
Your first line of defense is to protect yourself from employees who may be unethical. A quote from President Reagan “Trust, but Verify”. You should monitor what they are doing at their workstations. This is not illegal. They are working on your time, on your machine, and thus you own the transmission. You have a full right to know what that machine is producing. Ron tells every new employee that the Company will be monitoring every transmission, and if they object to that, they aren’t hired.
Crooks are not stupid. We make assumptions as to how crooks look, or maybe act, but they aren’t nearly as obvious as you may expect. The old crooks carried guns. The new crook (and here he tousled SHANE’S hair) wears a suit, is young, clean cut and…Just what is it that makes an employee collect and sell your data to a competitor, or worse? Greed is the answer and remember that a certain amount of greed is OK. After all, we are all capitalists but there are people who do not have what he calls Ethical Greed.
So remember - Trust, but Verify!
Ron Williams, we thank you for a provocative presentation.