Thursday, August 11, 2005

ID Theft Prevention using Opt Out with Acxiom

Most states still do not yet have disclosure laws
requiring financial institutions and lenders to
notify consumers when their personal information has
been compromised by identity thieves.

Months after the typical identity theft has occurred, the
consumer who's been victimized may find out only
when the bill collectors start calling. So, we inform
consumers to take proactive action such as
regular monitoring of credit and billing statements,
monitoring credit reports, & opting out of the
numerous marketing lists.

Here's one major reason why.

According to a AP story, a conviction was just
rendered Friday in a court case involving a Florida
man that was "claimed by prosecutors as the largest
federal computer theft trial ever."

"Prosecutors said Levine and his Boca Raton, Fla.
based Internet marketing firm, Snipermail.com, stole
1.6 billion customer records - the equivalent of 550
telephone books filled with names, e-mail and postal
addresses
."

"In July 2004, Assistant U.S. Attorney General
Christopher Wray said the case 'may be the largest
intrusion of personal data ever
.'(Reuters)

Back in 2002, programmers for Snipermail illegally
accessed the data on an Acxiom, one of the largest
data compilers in the United States, server.
Acxiom, the Conway, Arkansas based firm, serves
financial services, insurance,& telecommunication
companies by compiling and managing consumer
information used for marketing campaigns.
Acxiom claims to maintain information on 176 million
Americans and is the most comprehensive available,
collects information from public records, private
companies, the Postal Service and product warranty
cards.

Due to the relationship Acxiom maintains with its
clients, the company was not required at that time in
2002 to disclose the breach to the effected consumers.
"Because the information belongs to Acxiom's clients,
we are not authorized to answer questions from
individuals about whether their information was
accessed in the breach
. "

Further, it was publicly reported that no confirmed
identity theft cases occurred from the Acxiom data
breach resulting from the unauthorized access by
employees of Snipermail. Acxiom publicly acknowledged
their security procedures were tightened after the
Snipermail incident.

Now that its been over 3 years later and the sheer
magnitude of the data breach, do you feel comfortable
that you know what data actually could be
maintained about you at Acxiom.

To find out you can request a consumer report.

"Access to any background screening reports we may
have on file about you will be provided at no charge
in the form of a consumer report as prescribed by the
Fair Credit Reporting Act. To inquire about whether we
have any reports on you call 1-800-853-3228, option 3.
After receiving your report, you may contact us to
correct or dispute any inaccurate, incomplete or
obsolete information."

Additionally, you have the right to have your personal
information removed from Acxiom's files. To take
action, you can contact Acxiom's Opt-Out Hotline (877)
774-2094
or e-mail optout@acxiom.com.

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