Morning Security Brief: Identity Theft, Worldwide Corruption Perceptions, and Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials

By Sherry Harowitz


► Identity theft continues to increase, according to a new study from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which looked at the frequency with which identity theft was named as a cause for concern by financial institutions filing suspicious activity reports (SARs) from January 1, 2003 through December 30, 2009. While the total number of filings rose 89 percent over the period, identity-theft related filings rose 123 percent. "Credit card fraud was the most frequently co-reported suspicious activity...appearing in over 45.5 percent of sample filings," according to the FinCEN Identity-theft report. The victim knew the thief in 27.5 percent of the cases. Victims self-discovered 28 percent of the thefts; banks were credited with finding another 21 percent through account monitoring

► Transparency International's "Corruption Perceptions Index 2010" shows improvement from 2009 to 2010 for the following countries: Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, FYR Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait and Qatar. It shows deterioration over the same time period for: the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Madagascar, Niger and the United States, which dropped from 19th place to 22nd. First place is held by Denmark and last by Somalia. While the findings provide an interesting broad gauge of worldwide corruption, the authors caution that the rankings are not based on legal filings but on surveys that measure perceptions among experts.

► Also on the topic of world corruption, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has issued a report on progress made combating bribery of foreign officials. This Phase 3 report specifically looks at the United States. The report finds the U.S. in compliance with the OECD Convention on Combating the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. It notes that, "The United States has investigated and prosecuted the most foreign bribery cases among the Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention. From 1998 to 16 September 2010, 50 individuals and 28 companies have been criminally convicted of foreign bribery, while 69 individuals and companies have been held civilly liable for foreign bribery. In addition, 26 companies have been sanctioned," but the report also makes recommendations for further improving enforcement. The United States will have to file a report in one year regarding its implementation of the recommendations. The report says that the level of information on the implementation in the field is unprecedented, because it is based on site visits in the U.S.


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