Cellular Phone Company made it Too Easy - Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

December 31, 1969
December 31,1969

I recently received a call from Voicestream Cellular welcoming me to their company. One problem, I never opened an account with this company. They had my correct name, address and SSN. However, my date of birth (DOB) was incorrect.

CFA Issues Best Practices for Identity Theft Services

On Thursday, March 10, 2011 the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released Best Practices for Identity Theft Services (PDF) to address consumer concern about misleading marketing and exaggerated protection guarantees. Identity theft services typically monitor individuals’ credit reports for any activity, including inquiries and new accounts, and monitor public records for postings such as liens and judgments. Anomalies could be a sign that the individual is a victim of identity theft. The best practices are the result of 16 months of research and discussion by a multi-stakeholder task force that included Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) along with other consumer advocates and representatives of industry and government.

How to Choose an Identity Theft Monitoring Service

If you’re thinking about purchasing identity theft monitoring services, there is now a “shopping guide” that will help you choose the best service for you. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) participated in a task force hosted by the Consumer Federation of America to develop a set of guidelines for the identity theft monitoring industry. Members of the task force, which included industry, consumer, and government representatives, researched the industry for 16 months and recently published Best Practices for Identity Theft Services (PDF). The report provides a blueprint for what identity theft monitoring services should be doing.

Data Breaches: Why You Should Care and What You Should Do

Have you been hearing the term “data breach” in the news a lot recently? That’s because there has been a string of sensational breaches from corporate giants like Sony, Epsilon, Citigroup, and Lockheed Martin. A data breach is when a company inadvertently leaks your personal information as a result of a hack attack, lost or stolen computers, fraud, insider theft, and more. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse explains how to follow the breaches, why consumers should be concerned and what to do if a data breach happens to you.

Data Breaches: A Year in Review

2011 was a significant year for data security, with some of the biggest data breaches in our history reported. So far in 2011, we’ve tracked 535 breaches involving 30.4 million sensitive records. This brings the total reported records breached in the U.S. since 2005 to the alarming number of 543 million.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has been tracking breaches since 2005 and publishes aChronology of Data Breaches. The Chronology counts the number of records leaked that contain information useful to identity thieves, such as Social Security numbers, financial account numbers, driver's license numbers – and in some states, medical information.

Read our list of the top half dozen most significant data breaches in 2011.

Are the Businesses You Frequent or Work for Exposing You to an Identity Thief?

When we think about data breaches, we often worry about malicious-minded computer hackers exploiting software flaws, or perhaps Internet criminals seeking to enrich themselves at our expense. But the truth is that errors and negligence within the workplace are a significant cause of data breaches that compromise sensitive personal information.

Thus, a critical starting point for preventing future security breaches (and the identity theft that can follow) is developing ironclad policies and practices for handling personal information from within the workplace.

In Light of Recent Data Breaches, a WA Resident Suggests Needed Legislative Reform to Protect Consumers

December 31, 1969
December 31,1969

The recent Congressional hearings concerning identity theft have resulted in Congress' attention to force disclosures. This is only a grain of sand into the problem. Please consider my letter below related to this issue. I have already sent this letter to Senators, Representatives, our Governor and various news media to get more attention and emphasize our need for serious action - not watered down piecemeal action.

Bari Nessel Case by Linda Foley

December 31, 1969
December 31,1969

I am one of Bari Nessel's victims. Along with my identity she took my trust in people, especially employers, she stole my sense of security and financial safety, and she took my ability to get credit cards, loans or purchase a major ticket item without going through hours of red tape, only to possibly have my purchase or credit request rejected.

Testimony and Press Conference Statement of Selene

December 31, 1969
December 31,1969

I produced a documentary called "Stolen Identity: Crime of the Millennium" inspired by my own experience of having my identity stolen. The person who stole my identity did not know me. She did not know my age or mother's maiden name. She did not know my driver's license number. She did not even know what I looked like. (In fact, she changed all these statistics to match her own.) All this person knew who stole my identity was my social security number.

The Military ID Was too Easy to Get: System Failures Aided the Thief

December 31, 1969
December 31,1969

With that ID and my good credit history, he was able to buy cars, motorcycles, open credit card accounts, checking accounts, and get credit at virtually every department store that offers credit. I never came in contact with him, I didn't lose a credit card, and I wasn't careless with my social security number. The accounts he opened had no relationship to any of my accounts.


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