CMHT Consumer Experiences Symposium 2012: Cyber Crimes
May 02, 2012

Protecting consumers and brands in the digital age was the key focus of the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism (CMHT) 8th Annual Symposium: Creating Global Consumer Experiences, sponsored by Target Corporation. The event was held in the UNT Eagle Silver Suite from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., April 24, 2012.  Attended by CMHT majors, the symposium hosted three internationally recognized speakers who presented different views about defending consumers and brands from cyber crimes. In addition, the symposium included a research competition, which featured undergraduate and graduate research projects of CMHT students.

Dr. Judith Forney, CMHT Dean, welcomed the speakers and students and delivered an overview of the symposium's focus.  In keeping with the digital theme, Event Coordinator Erin Davis and IT Specialist Sampath Pamidimukkala arranged for live student Tweets and Facebook posts of comments and questions throughout the symposium.  Richard Last, former Vice President, New Business Development for JC Penney and current CMHT faculty member, moderated the symposium for the 600 student audience. 

Samir Kothari, Co-Founder and VP of Products for Truaxis presented, "unConfidential: Online Privacy Issues in the Digital Age," detailing the concerns and considerations regarding online privacy policies to both consumers and businesses. Kothari stated that four out of ten consumers will abandon a transaction if the privacy policy is complicated or if the consumer is uncertain about the intended use. 

Josh Bourne, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of FairWinds Partners presented, "Brand & Domain Name Abuse:  The Cyber-Squatter Revolution." Bourne's company works to protect brands from domain name infringements. He stated that opportunists seize URL patterns and register error prone domain names to either exploit private information through phishing tactics or to generate sales revenue to their sites. Bourne is also President of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), a non-profit corporation dedicated to building awareness about and advocating action to stop illegal and unethical infringement of brands/trademarks online.

Keynote speaker, Joe LaRocca, Senior Asset Protection Advisor for the National Retail Federation presented, "Emerging Technologies: Detecting and Deterring Fraudsters." LaRocca illustrated a variety of cyber threats, fraud, and vulnerabilities that cost American retail businesses billions of dollars each year. These losses occur through retail shrinkage, fraud schemes involving merchandise return, counterfeit goods and gift cards, and theft of cargo in route to American businesses. LaRocca also connected the phishing tactics described by Bourne to unscrupulous data breeches uncovered not only in retail but in all aspects of the consumer's personal activity including banking transactions, medical privacy, and identity theft. LaRocca serves with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security in addition to working with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country.

More information can be found at   Truaxis,  FairWindsPartners, and National Retail Federation

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