Hodges University Announces New Identity Fraud Institute

Hodges University News

Hodges University has announced the establishment of the Identity Fraud Institute. The Identity Fraud Institute, which is research and education focused, will serve as the central hub for all identity theft and fraud related information in and throughout the state of Florida, as well as provide victim assistance programs.

The Identity Fraud Institute includes a research center that will involve a network of local banks and members of the retail, medical and other industries who will learn, share and collaborate on key topics. Participants will report tips, trends and other related information. Notices will be shared through the institute with local law enforcement and businesses, benefitting the local market and its residents.

Citizen education will also be a prominent component of the institute. In development is a program that will certify participants as identity theft advisors, giving them an opportunity to also help other victims. Another goal of the Identity Fraud Institute is to host a national conference, tentatively planned for September 2016, on identity theft and fraud.

Carrie Kerskie is the Director of the Identity Fraud Institute and is an identity fraud expert, Florida Licensed Private Investigator and local resource on data breach issues, as well as author of ‘Your Public Identity: Because Nothing is Private Anymore’.

“For more than seven years, Florida has ranked first for identity fraud complaints with Naples ranking fifth nationwide. Coupled with the research and education component, Hodges University is the perfect fit for the institute,” commented Carrie Kerskie.

Kerskie has already partnered with Representative Kathleen Passidomo and Senator Garrett Richter to get FL - HB157 passed. Co-authored by Kerskie and Representative Passidomo, it was passed unanimously by the House and Senate with support of Senator Garrett Richter. Prior to being signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 16, 2015, business identity theft was not a crime in Florida.

“HB157 was the result of a collaborative effort of the members of the Collier County Identity Theft Task Force which brought to my attention their concerns that Florida’s laws pertaining to fraud and identity theft were outdated and archaic,” said Representative Passidomo. “The law only focused on the crime and penalties, but didn’t provide a mechanism to help victims restore their identities. It also didn’t protect businesses from identity theft and had wide gaps in its application and enforcement. With the expertise of Carrie Kerskie, an Identity Theft expert and Director of the Identity Fraud Institute at Hodges University, we created a significant piece of legislation that protects all Florida businesses from Identity Theft; sets up a process for a victim to obtain documentation regarding a fraudulent transaction to aid them in restoration of their rights; authorizes the court to issue orders to correct a public record that contains false information; increases penalties for medical identity theft and makes it a crime to knowingly provide false information that becomes a public record.”

The Identity Fraud Institute inaugural luncheon will be held on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Hodges University Naples campus. Speakers will include Sheriff Kevin Rambosk of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, State Representative Kathleen Passidomo of the Florida House of Representatives, District 106, as well as the Dean of Hodges University's Johnson School of Business, Dr. Aysegul Timur. A list of workshops to raise awareness in the Southwest Florida community will be announced as well. For sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, please visit hodges.edu/identity or call (239) 513-1122.

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