Sunday, February 05, 2006

Boston Newspaper Exposes 215,000 Credit Card Identities to Theft

This story would be comical, if it were not actually true.

It involves the Boston Globe and Worcester Telecom-Gazette
which are both owned by the New York Times Corporation.

215,000 credit card numbers were printed on the back
of
paper used to wrap newspaper bundles distributed to
retailers in central Massachusetts.

Additionally, the bank routing information of as many as
1,100 subscribers who pay by check was also exposed.

The error, first discovered by a local store clerk,
occurred when the Telecom-Gazette printers used
recycled internal reporting slips to print the
packing slips attached to bundles of newspapers.

While the newspaper publisher has notified the major
credit card companies of this breach, a special
toll free number has been setup for customers to
call and verify if their information was exposed.

That number is 1-888-665-2644.

Our tip for today, is to reduce your exposure
potential by getting your newspaper delivered
on-line. Even better still, build your own
customized newspaper using RSS feeds
which automatically
update your browser
whenever new information is posted to
the source newspapers or websites.

This will serve the purpose of not having a
physical packing mistake like the Boston
newspapers expose your sensitive personal
information to identity theft "collectors"
who scour unprotected neighborhood
mailboxes.

Finally, to protect yourself from the lack
of required public disclosure laws which
still exist in many states, enroll in an
automatic credit monitoring service to
serve as your personal "burglar alarm"
against suspicious or unauthorized credit
activity involving your name.

Article excerpted from Reuters.

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