On May 24, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission will host an all-day conference in Washington, D.C., examining the state of identity theft and how it may evolve in the future.  The conference, titled “Planning for the Future,” corresponds to the ten-year anniversary of the creation of the Identity Theft Task Force, which is co-chaired by the FTC.

Although identity theft prevention and response have been recent focuses for the FTC, including the FTC’s recent upgrades to the identity theft portal identitytheft.gov, millions of consumers become victims of identity theft every year, and questions regarding identity theft remain at the top of consumer complaints to the FTC.  In fact, the FTC reports that in the last calendar year, it received nearly 500,000 identity theft complaints.  The Department of Justice reports that in 2014, 17.6 million individuals – 7% of all U.S. residents age 16 and older – were victims of one or more incidents of identity theft.

The conference, which will be open to the public, will bring together academics, business and industry representatives, government experts, and consumer advocates to discuss the current state of identity theft, examine potential future challenges, and brainstorm how to address these issues.

Participants at the conference will examine and discuss:

  • the life cycle of identity theft, from the acquisition of consumers’ information, to the type of information sought, as well as the cost and ease with which consumers’ data can be acquired;
  • how identity thieves use information and how they may attempt to use it in the future;
  • how to quantify the impact of identity theft, from financial and economic harms to the broader impact on public safety; and
  • resources available to identity theft victims and their effectiveness in helping victims recover.

Interested members of the public can submit comments and questions on these topics here.  The FTC will live-stream the conference here.