Thursday, January 05, 2006

H&R Block Latest SSN Identity Disclosure

Ooops! H&R Block, the nationally known tax preparation
firm, did it again.

As a follow up to our October article on H&R Block's
disclosure of confidential personal information, we
learned of the latest security breach effecting an
unspecified number of consumers.

According to the information from the company's
website, a "recent mailing of TaxCut CDs contained
an error on the mailing label for a small percentage
of total recipients."

"For a small group of former clients, the company
inadvertently included some personal information in
the mailing label. Embedded within the more than
40-character source code were the nine digits of the
recipient's Social Security Number (SSN)."

The latest disclosure, in December, 2005, tends to
indicate one area of on-going concern consumers
nationwide have with the proper handling of their
personal information - that is, too a large degree,
you do not have much control over the large
companies
that are entrusted to secure your
digital identity
.

Unless, you choose to not conduct business with
organizations that have repeatedly exhibited loose
security practices.

However, where you do have control is the ability
to proactively monitor your credit & non-credit
information. Additionally, in selected states
effective this month, consumers now have for the first
time the ability to "freeze" their credit report.

This action, which the credit industry may view as
drastic, puts the consumer firmly in control over
whom and when your credit file can be accessed for
deciding the issuance of new credit accounts.

So, our tip for today is to review the disclosure and
remediation steps provided by H&R Block in case you or
an associate was affected by this latest security
exposure.

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