Consumer Affairs raises an interesting question in its summary of the theft of 26 million social security numbers on a burgled laptop: are these targeted thefts?
Companies fail time and time again to protect our most sensitive data and we’re learning our lesson: we know that our identity being stolen, our bank accounts being drained is as close to happening as firewall left unsecured, one CD forgotten in an airplane pocket, one disgruntled waiter walking away with our credit card number. The average American is a lot more savvy now: everyone knows now that there’s no reason at all for Radio Shack to need your telephone number when you buy a transistor radio; Best Buy doesn’t need your address when you pick up a Sopranos DVD. We shred our credit card statements; we deny companies our social security numbers when they don’t actually need them. We’re closing the security hole of our unwarranted trust in companies.
As an individual entity, then, the average consumer is much less of a target for fraud or identity theft than they ever were before. Yet companies like Verizon, Hewlett- Packard, Ford and now a government agency keep on “losing” laptops that make that extra vigilance worthless. These companies would like us to believe that the laptops are being stolen for their resale value, but is it so hard to believe that criminals are specifically targeting the thoughtless jackasses at these companies who keep putting millions of us at risk by bringing home their work?
What do you guys think?