Sunday, June 11, 2006

YMCA Lost Laptop Exposes 65,000 to Identity Theft

YMCA-Lost-Laptop-Exposes-65,000-to-Identity-Theft-audio post - click to play

In the latest in a string of recent announcements
involving name brand organizations suffering data
breaches, the YMCA of Greater Providence,
Rhode Island was forced to disclose the loss
of the
personal data of 65,000 of it's
members.


Similar to recent exposures by Ernst & Young, a
laptop containing highly sensitive and confidential
personal information was stolen May 24th from
the
locked administrative offices of the YMCA.

Personal information contained on the latop
included:

  • Debit card account
  • Credit card account
  • Social Security Number (ssn)

An identity thief, using this type of personally
identifying information, can not only commit
fraudulent purchases but also open up new lines
of credit or cell phone services in the victim's
name. Based on statistics compiled by the
F.T.C., a new identity theft takes place
every 79
seconds in America costing
consumers thousands of dollars and hundreds
of frustrating hours to fix their financial well being.

Here's why.

Those account numbers can be used for "card not present"
fraud — where a stolen number is used to make a payment
over the phone or Internet. Little secondary verifying
information, if any,is required to conduct these illegal
purchases using stolen information.

Or, if the identity thief merely specializes as a
"collector", then he can easily peddle the stolen
identities and or card account numbers
to international
fraud rings operating via
internet chat forums for a hefty profit as follows below:

Regular credit card number: $1

Credit card with 3-digit security code: $3-$5

Credit card with code and PIN: $10-$100

Social security number (US): $5-$10

Mother's maiden name: $5-$10


At a bare minimum, those YMCA member's
personal information can be worth $65,000.

To even the most novice identity thief, usually
the data "collectors", a $65,000 payday sure beats
working for an honest living and is well worth the
risk - especially considering the low probability
of getting caught or ever serving serious jail
time
.

So, our tip for today is to contact the YMCA if
you or someone you know is a member of the
Providence, Rhode Island chapter which serves
portions of Massachusetts. Plus, for those who
have seen the several times per week evidence
from our website why your personal information
is not secure, take action to insure your own
personal financial safety.

Enroll in credit monitoring and check out on a
quarterly basis your public information profile
for the other more hidden incidents an identity
thief has abused your personal information such
as fraudulent DMV or criminal arrest filings in
your name.

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