In 2009, while speaking at a security conference in Northern California, Neal was approached by a number of police officers asking for his assistance in helping, pro bono, with the epidemic of identity theft victims their departments were swamped with.
Identity theft still remains the #1 crime in the history of America, and still claims more than 1 million new victims every 30 days. Most police departments are unable to cope with more than a handful of victims every month.
Neal began volunteering as a victim counselor in 2009. He formally launched the nonprofit Identity Theft Council in 2010, becoming its unpaid Executive Director. The following year, the council was recognized with one of the cybersecurity industry’s most prestigious awards. The previous winner of the award was the NSA. And in 2015 he was the first recipient of the Eigen Award, presented by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, for his work in fighting consumer fraud.
Over the next decade, Neal personally counselled thousands of victims of identity theft, trained dozens of police departments, spoke at hundreds of events around the country, advised multiple government agencies, served as an expert witness in the prosecution of identity thieves, helped change some laws, and helped fund the first documentary to interview some of the most notorious identity thieves. All at his own expense.