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SCI/TECH: Net Aids Access to Sensitive ID Data

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posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 11:01 AM
How safe is your personal information? Not very according to the Washington Post. Social Security numbers are bought and sold every day on the Internet. Prices for this "master key" of personal information range from $35-$45, depending on the site selling the numbers. The sites claim that the information is available to help law enforcement and to aid private investigators to track down deadbeat dads and the like. However, the information is readilly available to anyone with the cash to buy it, and only performs minimal checks to ensure a person's legitimacy in wanting the information.
Brokers such as ChoicePoint Inc. and LexisNexis have pledged to restrict the availability of such data after personal information on more than 175,000 people was purloined from the two firms by identity thieves posing as legitimate businessmen.

So far, neither those moves nor revelations of a series of breaches at major banks and universities has curbed a multi-tiered and sometimes shadowy marketplace of selling and re-selling personal data that is vulnerable to similar fraud.

A simple Internet search yields more than a dozen Web sites offering an array of personal data.

Some are run by small data brokers and other re-sellers. Others are run by private investigators, many of whom have complained that recently announced restrictions on the availability of Social Security numbers would hurt their ability to assist law-enforcement, track down deadbeat dads or locate witnesses.

Yet with only scant checks to verify whether someone requesting data is legitimate, several sites sell full Social Security numbers, potentially contributing to an epidemic of identity theft or fraud that touched about 10 million Americans in the past year.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Web sites such as these are likely one of the largest contributors to identity theft in the US. There is currently no law prohibiting the sale of Social Security numbers, and because of this, the problem continues to grow. Privacy experts have warned for years that the numbers are over-used and under-protected.

posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 11:32 PM
Let's see, it's ok for our government to put all kinds of restrictions on civilian passengers attempting to get on an airplane because some people a few years stole people's identities to board planes without suspicion. Now that some commercial or government agencies are complaining of extra procedures, our government suddenly decides it's better to be lax again when it comes to tightening up on identity theft. I can almost imagine our enemies laughing at our government and us. This is sad.

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