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Posted on June 1, 2016 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

We know that when you enrolled in identity theft protection services with IdentityForce, you made the decision to trust us with your personal information. Because you’ve placed so much trust in us, we want you to get to know us a little better. Periodically, we will be sharing employee profiles to bridge that gap and help you feel comfortable with the individuals who are protecting your identity.

Judy Leary, IdentityForce President

judy leary - identityforce presidentJudy Leary is IdentityForce’s fearless leader and has been with the company for over 30 years. She makes her home in Framingham, Mass., but loves to travel around the world and calls Aruba her “happy place.” Judy also dedicates a great deal of her time volunteering for causes she is passionate about; she currently mentors a 16-year-old young woman from Brazil as part of the Mazie Foundation, volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association, and volunteers with the Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue where she adopted her dog, Cooper. She also loves spending time with her family and friends, going to the movies and the theater, and trying new restaurants and wines in and around Boston.

Judy and IdentityForce: A Family Affair

You could say identity protection is in Judy’s DNA: her father founded Stop Loss Associates in 1978, which was the security and loss prevention company that eventually became IdentityForce in 2006. Judy says the main thing that has remained constant over the years is the expertise in security and credit services—not only for enterprise customers in business, as well as U.S. government agencies, but consumers and their families — with the same commitment and security level.

Judy’s first job when she joined the team in 1985 was to build a division for pre-employment screening, background checks and public record retrieval for major retailers, banks, law firms and government agencies.

Today in 2016? She oversees all aspects of the operational and technical sides of the business, but her favorite part of the job is educating consumers and businesses on how to protect themselves and remain proactive in regards to identity theft.

“It’s [identity theft] here to stay, and educating consumers about the need to stay one step ahead is important,” says Judy. “Our company is consistently reviewing new technologies and products to keep our members’ information safe and to stay one step ahead of the thieves. I believe IdentityForce has one of the most comprehensive identity, privacy and credit protection services currently available,” she shared.

Judy’s Tips and Advice for Identity Protection

Because offering identity protection services has been such a big part of Judy’s life, she’s seen it all. However, in recent years, she has observed a few different types of identity theft coming to the forefront:

  • Tax fraud: “This year, tax refund fraud has increased dramatically,” says Judy. “2 years ago, it accounted for about $6.5 billion of fraud—this year, the IRS says it’s up to $21 billion.”
  • Medical fraud: As more health data becomes electronic, it’s becoming easier for cyber criminals to steal from hospital, doctors, and insurance companies.
  • Synthetic identity theft: Synthetic identity theft is when the thief steal pieces of information from a few different people to create a brand new identity. Many consumers don’t ever think about this form of identity theft, but it is definitely on the rise.

Judy also says that though phishing e-mails and phone scams are not necessarily increasing, she doesn’t see them decreasing either. Many of these scams continue to target the elderly and seek out social security numbers, credit card numbers, tax ID numbers, and other personal data.

So, what type of advice would the President of an identity protection company give? Plenty.

“With IdentityTheft, it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s ‘when,’ so be vigilant.”  Tweet This!

“I tell all my friends: your personal info is out there. If you use the Internet, shop online, if you’re registered to vote—it’s out there. With identity theft, it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s ‘when,’ so be vigilant,” says Judy. “Don’t keep personal information, passwords, phone info, or anything like that on your computer. Any mail with personal info—shred it.”

She also notes that identity theft protection is quickly becoming like auto or health insurance—you don’t want to leave home without it.