SEATTLE, Jul 27, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Nearly 100 representatives of banks and other financial
institutions are meeting today with law enforcement agencies from all
levels of government to develop improved ways for fighting identity
theft and other threats to customer data security.
"We're hoping that as a result of today's discussions we can
develop a strategic partnership between public and private sectors to
share information and better use our combined resources to protect
consumers from a growing national problem," said Brian Parker, senior
vice president of risk management services for Washington Mutual, one
of two co-sponsors of a day-long seminar to be held at the Leadership
Center at Cedarbrook, in the City of Sea-Tac.
Identity theft is one of the nation's fastest growing crimes,
costing consumers more than an estimated $1 billion annually.
Steve Cooley, district attorney for Los Angeles and one of the
guest speakers, believes a regional identity theft center composed of
law enforcement and representatives of financial institutions would be
one way to better coordinate the anti-fraud effort. "We must protect
personal identifying information the way we protect other valuable
items," he said.
Cooley is a member of the National District Attorney's
Association, which is seeking support from financial institutions for
a new initiative to combat fraud detection and prosecution. The
initiative proposes creation of a national training curriculum,
standardized ways to obtain financial records, establishment of a
witness transportation fund and development of a national contact list
that facilitates cooperation.
"We need to work together more strategically and more consistently
as a coordinated team," Parker said. "If we cooperate with each other
we can reduce fraud and life will be better for consumers. By being
consistent we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of
prosecutions at the state and local levels." The Sea-Tac meeting is
believed to be the largest such gathering ever held in western
In addition to Cooley, panel speakers include Jonathan Fairtlough,
deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County; Susan Storey, senior
deputy prosecuting attorney in the King County fraud division, and
Stan Belitz, vice president of security and risk service for
MasterCard International, the other co-sponsor of the event. Agents
for the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service will also participate as
Attendees will be welcomed by Norm Maleng, prosecuting attorney
for King County.
About Washington Mutual
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) is
a retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of
products and services to consumers and commercial clients. At June 30,
2005, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $323.53
billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,400 retail
banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking and financial services
offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are
available at www.wamunewsroom.com.
(Editor's Note: Reporters are invited to attend the afternoon
panel discussion that begins at 1 p.m. at the Washington Mutual
Leadership Center at Cedarbrook, 18525 36th Ave. South, City of
SOURCE: Washington Mutual
For Washington Mutual
Monty Dennison, 206-419-6873 (Media Contact)