Security dealers take on identity theft

Identity theft prevention and recovery solutions are set to become a new RMR stream for dealers

While most people think about security in the traditional sense of protecting physical assets, there is an ever-growing and potentially more damaging threat to consumers these days in the form of identity theft. According to an identity theft survey conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 8.3 million Americans in 2005 said they discovered that that were victims of identity theft in one form or another.

Since that time, cases of identity theft have only continued to grow. According to a report issued earlier this year by financial consulting firm Javelin Research and Strategy, more than 11 million Americans in 2009 were victims of identity theft. The 2010 Identity Fraud Survey further noted that the average identity theft victim spent 21 hours and $373 of their own money fixing the damage.

The problem has become so pervasive that many in the security dealer community have begun offering identity theft prevention and recovery solutions as a part of their monitoring package. With dealers always exploring new ways to create recurring monthly revenue, some see the move to providing identity theft solutions as a natural evolution of the market.

Available Solutions

One company that is offering a suite of identity and computer security solutions through the dealer channel is Ocenture. Ocenture not only offers identity theft protection and recovery services, but also a host of other products including Internet security software, crime and sexual predator monitoring, family protection software, online data backup, password management, computer theft protection, and remote technical services.

Ocenture CEO Adrian Sedlin said that the company identified the residential security market in 2006 as being an emerging vertical for identity theft solutions. He added that they have been developing products for the market over the past two and a half years. The company officially announced at ESX last month that it has partnered with Pennsylvania-based Guardian Protection Services.

Sedlin said that he thinks it makes sense for dealers to offer Ocenture's solution as a complimentary service as either part of bundle or as up-sell or cross-sell.

"We had a couple of fundamental observations about the industry. The industry has historically been about access control, perimeter security and doors and windows," he said. "If you go to the ISC show, you see 999 booths dedicated to hardware. What we find interesting is that people in the industry ask the question of how can we use technology to better secure doors and windows? The question we feel the industry has not identified is how has technology changed the things that we need to secure?"

Sedlin said that dealers also have a built-in advantage when it comes to selling identity theft solutions because they already have established a relationship with their customers to protect their physical assets. Historically, Sedlin explained that security dealers have thought of themselves as a home security company rather than a consumer security company, which could change moving forward.

"We really feel there was a migration opportunity for the industry at least when it comes to the residential market, to give a broader definition and say, 'no, we are in the consumer security business,'" he said. "Companies that think in those terms will be doing far better in the future than those that say 'we just do residential.'"

Another company offering an identity theft solution, albeit with a different approach, is ID Medics by Crest Electronics.

Rather than focus on prevention, Crest Electronics President David Castelli said ID Medics provides customers with a fully-managed identity theft recovery solution.

"(The ID Medics) program is set on the basic level that ID thefts will and can occur no matter what level of security a consumer puts up," he said. "It is inevitable, it will happen, there is not enough security to have 100 percent protection."

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