Earlier this year, a California state agency was heavily criticized for tempting identity thieves by printing full Social Security numbers on millions of documents it mailed out to state residents. Making matters worse, the agency didn’t really seem to understand why this might be a problem. After a few months to think about it, the bureaucrats appear to have finally come around. [More]
California Realizes Maybe It’s Not Such A Good Idea To Print Full Social Security Numbers On Mailed Documents
From ruining your credit to giving you a criminal record, a clever ID thief can do some significant damage with a stolen Social Security number, so why is one California state agency putting this information out there in the mail for these fraudsters to swipe? [More]
Tell a friend:
When I was working at the library in college, every student had to tell me his/her student ID number to check out a book, and with very few exceptions that number was also the student’s Social Security number. Oh boy, the profitable things I could have done if I’d been enterprisingly evil. [More]
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A pile of sensitive personal data from Florida residents is now on the loose online. But it wasn’t leaked from a hack or a breach. It was from a completely legitimate public records dump by the state’s former governor.
Check your mail, AT&T wireless customers — you might have an announcement from the company disclosing a data security breach that happened two months ago. Snail, mail indeed. AT&T confirmed over the weekend that three workers at one of the company’s vendors accessed an undisclosed amount of AT&T Mobility customers’ records. [More]
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Ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own fates. That’s what David learned when an important tax document arrived in his mailbox with his Social Security number and name exposed. It didn’t come in a “sorry we damaged your mail” envelope like most mangled letters do, so he was suspicious. Maybe someone had ripped it open to get his info. Maybe a postal employee had mangled it, but forgot to put it in an apologetic envelope. Whatever had happened, surely the postal service, credit bureaus, and police would have answers for him, right? Right. [More]
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How do you know you’re watching television with a Consumerist editor? Our commenters will probably formulate all kinds of punchlines for that setup, but last night, I was half paying attention to former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention on CNN when I happened to see an elderly supporter waving her Medicare card at the camera. Her name and Social Security number were completely legible. “We can read her card! Stop showing that!” I shouted at the TV. The people on the television never listen to personal finance bloggers who are shouting at them.
According to researchers from an identity protection company, publicly available tax forms have potentially put hundreds of thousands of identities at risk, publishing 472,866 Social Security Numbers in a five-year span. Charities unnecessarily included the numbers in 990 forms, which are part of public record.
A Domino’s PR rep says drivers aren’t allowed to ask you for your Social Security Number to verify credit card purchases. Drivers can ask to see your ID, but you can refuse and the driver can’t deny the transaction.
Brent says the Domino’s dude wouldn’t let him pay with a credit card unless he offered up his Social Security Number or driver’s license number. Since Brent was smart enough to know you only give such information to Girl Scouts and those guys who go to door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions, he checked it out with his local Domino’s, which told him the nosyness is store policy.
So confident is Lifelock in its $10-$15/month “identity theft protection service” that its CEO Todd Davis posts his social security number in its ads. Unfortunately, his identity has been stolen 13 times since doing so, reports the Phoenix Times. The FTC fined Lifelock $12 million in March for deceptive advertising.
As if it wasn’t compromising enough to give up her measurements, Lindsay says Victoria’s Secret also wanted her Social Security Number.
Comcast’s customer service czar Frank responded to our post “Comcast: “The Patriot Act” Mandates We Need Your SSN” by saying it was an error on part of the agent. Via Twitter he said:
The Transportation Security Administration, the division of the Department of Homeland Security charged with keeping bombs and pies away from planes, has misplaced an external hard drive containing social security numbers, bank data, and payroll information for 100,000 employees. We say “misplaced” because the TSA is not sure if the laptop was stolen, or “is still within headquarters.”
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
Has someone stolen your social security or credit card number? StolenIDSearch is a new site aims to answer this question that has tickled the back of most American’s minds at some point, especially in light of the recent spree of retailer breaches and stolen laptops containing reams of personal information.
A reader tip suggests you can get a better deal on a cellphone by being an immigrant.