Prosecutor: ID Theft Top Fraud Concern

U.S. Attorney Says Card Skimming a Growing Threat
Steve Wiggington
U.S. Attorney Steve Wiggington says identity theft, especially linked to card skimming, is still the No. 1 fraud threat facing financial services institutions as well as consumers. He stresses information sharing is critical for fighting fraud.

"At the very retail, Main Street level, identify theft is the leading threat," says Wiggington, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. "We do see large-scale identity theft rings as a threat. And we see the skimming threat as being a concern - skimming devices that you can put into a gas pump at a service station or into your ATM."

Skimming schemes that compromise point-of-sale terminals at restaurants are on the rise, too, Wiggington explains during this interview with Information Security Media Group. And the more the financial and retail sectors can do to promptly detect and track this type of fraud, the sooner law enforcement can bring the criminals behind these schemes to justice, he says.

Wiggington says the retail and financial sectors are working more closely with law enforcement, and that cooperation and information sharing is having a positive effect on bringing criminals to justice sooner.

"To fight crime in the 21st century, we need to have partnerships," he says. "Banking institutions are the front lines of defense for what we see as intrusion efforts, hacking efforts, so we want to see what they are facing on a daily basis. ... We want to get as much information as we can from our banking institutions to share with our national partners."

During this interview, Wiggington discusses:

  • The role information sharing groups are playing in curbing emerging financial cybercrimes;
  • Why U.S. attorneys have been asked to be "community problem solvers;"
  • How financial services working groups throughout the country are leading the fight against international crime rings.

Wiggington was sworn in as a U.S. attorney on Aug. 27, 2010. Previously, he co-founded Weilmuenster & Wigginton, P.C., focusing his practice on litigation, labor and municipal law. He also formerly served as an assistant state's attorney in the felony division of the Madison County (Ill.) State's Attorney's Office. He has tried or argued cases in the Illinois and Missouri circuit courts, the Courts of Appeals and the Illinois Supreme Court. He has been admitted in a number of Federal District Courts, including the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

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