Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Identity Theft Free Search Service Launched

TrustedID, a California startup company, has launched
a free search engine service where consumers can check
their own credit card and social security numbers for
theft against more than 2 million pieces of information.

Identity-Theft-Free-Search-Service-Launched-audio-post - click to play

While this free search engine service, in concept seems like
a good idea, wouldn't you be concerned of its potential for
abuse by actual identity theft criminals who can also access
this same information repository?

Here's why.

This new identity theft search service currently:

  • Does not have any apparent CAPTCHA or automated robot defeats
  • Does not require a site visitor to pass any registration or validation
  • Is not provided by any of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, etc.)
  • Has unwittingly made itself a huge identity theft target for hackers

So, while we applaud, in concept, this service from TrustedID to help
consumers take their own preventative steps against identity theft,
we would be a bit more bullish about the service if it provided some
more rigourous & commonly utilized defense mechanisms to protect
itself from becoming the next major source of leaked consumer

The company claims in their privacy policy they do not keep the
information you input and also it's encrypted during the form

Our tip for today, then, is to merely be aware of this free
service to check out if your credit card or social security
number (ssn) to see it has been stolen. The source for the
data, according to TrustedID, is various publicly available
website forums where identity thieves traffic stolen consumer

Please note, TrustedID provides this free search service as a
means to get consumers to subscribe to their paid service for
credit & account monitoring.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Identity Theft to the Maxx

Continuing upon its record setting pace the past
24 months, this new year brings the first major
identity theft disclosure effecting millions of
consumers across North America and Europe.

Identity-Theft-to-the-Maxx-audio-post - click to play

TJX, the parent company of the discount retailer
for Marshalls & T.J. Maxx reported this week they
were the victim of an "unauthorized intrusion"
into their computer systems last month.

The computer systems were broken into by
unknown hackers evidently who were successful
in accessing the firm's credit and debit card
account information of it's 4 million
customers from over 1,750 stores.

While the majority of impacted customers
impacted supplied their credit/debit card
information during 2006, there is also an
unspecified number of customers dating
to 2003 that are effected as well.

The information stolen which can be used
for identity theft credit fraud now has
credit the major issuers scrambling to
lessen the potential loss rate included the

  • American Express
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • Discover

Additionally, the computer thieves were
also able to steal the highly sensitive
information of TJX customer's:

  • Debit cards
  • Drivers License (DMV)

This is a major security breach which not
only is limited to consumers within the
U.S.A., but also impacts those in Canada,
Puerto Rico and even Europe.

Any customers of the following TJX store
brands are urged to take immediate action:

  • T.J. Maxx
  • Marshalls
  • HomeGoods
  • A.J. Wright
  • Winners
  • HomeSense
  • Bob's Stores

So, our tip for today is if you or anyone
you know has ever purchased or returned
goods using a credit/debit card -or- was
required to show their DMV number, contact
the TJX special, toll free hot line(s) for
more information:

(United States)


0800 77 90 15
(United Kingdom and Ireland)

Plus, because of the December holiday
timing of the computer break-in, make
sure to scrutinize your credit card
statements which will be mailed later
this month.

Any fraudulent charges you find should
be reported promptly to your credit
card issuer for removal and/or new card
account issuance.

Finally, make sure to tell a friend
about this important identity theft
credit fraud warning to they may too
act before becoming a victim.

Updated 9/24/97:

According to Market Watch:

"TJX Cos. said Friday it has agreed to settle customer class-action lawsuits in the U.S. and Canada related to claims arising from the criminal intrusions into TJX's computer system.

Under the settlement, which is subject to court approval, TJX will offer three years of credit monitoring and identity theft insurance to customers who returned merchandise without a receipt and to whom the company sent letters reporting that their driver's licenses or other identifying information may have been compromised.

TJX will also reimburse the customers for documented costs of certain license replacements and certain losses from identity theft if identification numbers compromised were the same as their Social Security numbers."

Score one for the 45 million consumers who were impacted by this major security breach.

Friday, January 12, 2007

HP Identity Theft Case Not Dunn Yet as PI Pleads Guilty

In reversing his previous plea to state charges, the
former private investigator in the HP identity theft
case evidently is now cooperating with federal
authorities by entering his guilty plea.

HP-Identity-Theft-Case-Not-Dunn-Yet-as-PI-Pleads-Guilty-audio-post - click to play

As a follow up to our recent article from when
the scandal first emerged, it seems this HP hired
private investigator stands accused of having used
a reporter's Social Security number (ssn) to gain
access to the real reporter's phone call records as
part of his effort to find the source of the board
room leaks.

This posing of a real person, known as "pretexting",
was part of the Hewlett Packard scheme to identify
the source of leaks to the media which has now been
elevated from a state of California case to one
being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

As a result the former private investigator for HP
has been charged and plead guilty to:

  • Aggravated identity theft
  • Conspiracy

If convicted on both charges related to the HP identity
theft case, the former private investigator could be
facing as much as 7 years in federal prison and
in fines.

So, our tip for today is to start your new year right.
Review your portfolio of companies you either do business
with or even consider for future investments. Feel free
to conduct a search through our site's nearly 275 articles
to find out which companies have been the victims or
sources of identity theft.

Just knowing who or where to be cautious with your data can
save you and your family a potential life time of financial

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Wisconsin Exposes 170,000 SSN to Identity Theft

Closing out a record year for identity theft,
the state of Wisconsin
mistakenly mailed
out this past Friday 170,000 tax form packets

with resident's social security numbers (ssn)
printed on the outside
address labels.

Wisconsin-Exposes-170,000-SSN-to-Identity-Theft-audio-post - click to play

Although a printing company hired for the mailing
was at fault, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue
is working to retrieve the undelivered mail from
the US Postal Service.

"It's a serious breach, for sure"

This security breach impacts an estimated 15% of
the 1.1 million booklets mailed to individual taxpayers
who file their returns by mail.

So, our tip for today is for anyone who is or knows of
a Wisconsin tax payer who files their returns by mail.
Especially if that person has been out of town traveling
for the holidays, make sure to immediately retrieve
their delivered mail.

Also, take advantage of Wisconsin's new credit freeze law
which took effect January 1st.

Contact any of the three major credit bureaus to place a
credit freeze on your personal file. This will serve to
restrict access by unauthorized parties to your credit
file without your knowledge.