Department Of Agriculture Exposes Over 60,000 Social Security Numbers, Identity Thieves Reap Record Harvest

A database used by the Department of Agriculture for twenty-six years may have compromised the social security numbers of over 60,000 farmers. The breach was discovered after a bored Illinois farmer googled the name of his farm.

The database is more than two decades old and is used by federal and state agencies, researchers, journalists and private citizens to track government spending. Thousands of copies of the database exist.

The database was used by the Farm Service Agency and USDA Rural Development. The Department is notifying affected individuals by mail, and will provide them with free credit monitoring for one year. If you want more information, but don’t want to wait for a letter, lay down your plowshares and pruning hooks and call the USDA incident hotline at (800) FED-INFO (333-4636). — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

U.S. Database Exposed Social Security Numbers [NYT]
(Photo: g-hat)