Wednesday, June 28, 2006

FTC Itself Latest Identity Theft Victim

FTC-Itself-Latest-Identity-Theft-Victim-audio post - click to play

What happens when the chief government watch dog
agency against identity theft itself becomes
the latest
victim with the theft of 2 laptops?

This latest identity theft story points out the
crucial need for laptops containing consumer
information to be minimally encrypted if not
banned altogether from leaving secured premises.

But what is particularly shocking from the public
statements made by a FTC spokesperson is the
seemingly utter disregard for consumer information

..the FTC employees did not violate security
procedures by storing the password-protected
laptops in their cars.


Has anyone over at the FTC being paying attention to
the record number of consumer identity theft's this
year attributed to stolen laptops containing
unencrypted and highly sensitive data?

Or, perhaps the head of the FTC, who herself was
the victim of identity theft associated with the
DSW data loss two years ago might at least have
made sure her agency would have tighter security
procedures in place.

Evidently not, as the data the identity thieves
captured included:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • Financial Account Numbers

All because an attorney, intrusted with the data, left
laptops in a locked car.

Look, this is very simple if you have a laptop, it's
meant to be portable. So, leaving a highly portable
laptop containing confidential consumer information
in a car just does not make sense - that is if it
were the attorney's social security number. Better
still, do not allow employees or contractors to
save unencrypted consumer data on a
portable drive.

It's not rocket science nor requires a large
committee of staffers to figure it out as seemingly
the FTC spokesperson intimated:

We will be reassessing what procedures
we have to make sure reasonable measures
are taken to protect data.

So, our tip for today is to run - don't walk
to your nearest telephone or computer and get
yourself and family members enrolled in any
quality credit monitoring service you feel
comfortable with. Just make sure you utilize
one which provides exception alerts to
suspicious activity, but also will screen
for the hidden public records fraud which
unfortunately credit bureaus do not watch
out for your in your interest.

Finally, help a friend by sharing what you
learned today from this podcast which is
provided under the concept of freedbacking.

We're free and can be anonymously subscribed
to by RSS or email.


At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really unsettling string of articles.

When major credit bureaus, insurance companies, & governmental agencies all can not secure our most confidential personal data, we are in deep trouble.

When will the tipping point actually occur to where we will finally get some protection from the industry?

Until then, it seems the best way to even attempt to stay in front of the identity thieves is to stay informed of tips and just what's actually being publicly disclosed.

Thanks for those small nuggets of gold, then.


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