Hacking Away at Identity Theft Hackers

“When we perform background investigations for companies, we parallel the same procedures that the federal government follows when they vet military or civilian individuals for security clearances,” said Jacques Island, president of Inquesta Corporation based in Coral Gables, Florida. “We can duplicate over 80% of their processes but, of course, we don't have all the same resources because the government has internal databases that no one else can access.”

Island's keen insight into high-level government security practices is far from anecdotal. He spent 20 years as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation involved in health care fraud, bank fraud, organized crime cases, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism activities, as well as crisis management and hostage negotiations. Prior to that, he worked with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security and he was also an intelligence officer jn the U.S. Air Force. The credentials of other Inquesta staff members are as impressive. They include former members of federal services and local public safety departments with extensive experience in investigations and Homeland Security operations. These experts’ resumes typically include acronyms like CFE (Certified Fraud Examiners), CIRM (Certified Identity Risk Managers), CEM (Certified Emergency Managers) and MEP (Master Exercise Practitioners), to list just a few. Inquesta also draws from academia to apply advanced degrees to complex research projects.

One particular area of specialization Island is proud of, is identity theft prevention. Inquesta helps organizations handling sensitive consumer information to comply with federal and state laws mandating implementation of identity theft prevention programs. “Hackers and impostors who break into a company’s consumer database can steal thousands or even millions of identities in one swoop,” said Island. The greatest risks lie with banks, brokerages, telecommunication companies, health care facilities, auto dealerships, municipalities and other entities requiring consumer information to conduct business. “These companies and institutions are repositories for sensitive consumer records, holding social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card information and much more. They amount to gold mines for identity thieves.”

Inquesta’s identity theft consultants do all that is required by law – and then go that extra mile. Using proprietary risk assessment tools and methods, they provide clients with a precise measurement of risk, intelligence about weaknesses in their systems and information on identity theft trends in that industry and region. Critical training is given to all personnel who deal with sensitive consumer information, alerting them to the techniques used by hackers and impostors specifically for tricking employees into giving away consumer information or system passwords.

“Our solutions include policies, procedures, fraud tracking tools, training and internal controls – both physical and IT,” Island emphasized. “We can either establish a new identity theft prevention program – also known as a Red Flags Rule program – or evaluate and remediate existing Red Flags programs to assure that the institution can pass a regulatory audit with flying colors.”
In addition to being a superb investigator, Island is bringing his experience to bear as author of the forthcoming book, “Your Plan is Your Parachute: A Simplified Guide to Business Continuity and Crisis Management.”

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