The reputational losses will soon be felt as firms like Lexis Nexis pick up accounts from the fall out of this unfortunate criminal act. "Social Engineering" and plain old fraud will continue to haunt the companies who make it there job to know who we are, right down to the places we eat and where we shop.
If you get the warning letter from Choicepoint that you are one of the 145,000 people whose identity could be compromised, what are you going to do?
Disclosure of the incident was required under California's SB-1386,which took effect July 1, 2003. According to the law, any state agency, person, or business that does business in California and owns or licenses electronic data that includes personal information, is required to disclose any data security breach to California residents whose unencrypted personal information may have been accessed by an unauthorized person.
Last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported fraud losses of more than $547 million. Internet-related fraud accounted for 53% of all reported fraud complaints. According to the Better Business Bureau, 9.3 million Americans were victims of identity-theft fraud in 2004.
These are operational risks that not only the financial and health care institutions are responsible for mitigating, but also the Data Information Brokers who sell and share our identities to direct marketing firms. Remember that there really is only one way to keep yourself protected. Constantly monitor your identity and the details that exist in these companies databases. Make sure it is accurate. Put alerts on your account for suspicious activity. Consider using your middle initial or entire middle name when opening new accounts. This will help you differentiate yourself from every one else who shares your same first and last name.
Finally, review the security and privacy policies of your most trusted institutions. You will be amazed at what you have already accepted them to do with your personal information.