Thursday, November 15, 2007

Financial security pros recommend consumers consider a security freeze


Today, Nov. 15, 2007, the Business Section of The Washington Post has, on p D02, a column by Michelle Singletary, "The Color of Money: A Way to Freeze Out ID Thieves" here.

The security freeze, offered by Experian, Trans Union and Equifax, allows consumers to block accesses to their reports from new vendors. This would indirectly prevent new accounts from being set up in a person's name illegally. Usually this requires a certified letter, and each bureau has a procedure to lift the freeze at the end. There may be a charge for this freeze, although many states are pressing to force companies to make these freezes free.

Again, we wonder why credit grantors are so careless that they are not sure of the identity of the person to whom they grant car loans or credit cards. This has been covered before.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bipartisan victim's restitution bill introduced in Congress


MSNBC and Reuters reported on Oct. 16, 2007 that Congress is considering a bipartisan bill that would let victims of identity theft recover restitution for time and money spent in repairing their credit. The story is here. The Microsoft security site (from the site where Windows users go to check for and download security updates) has a story here, posted Oct. 30.

Then, today, November 1, 2007, Michelle Singletary has an article “The Color of Money: Getting to Know Identity Thieves,” on page D2 of The Washington Post, link here.
The story indicates that a Secret Service study indicates that about half of these compromises occur at more conventional businesses (not from home users or individuals with their own businesses), that many occur with low tech methods (stealing laptops or disks rather than downloading or hacking, even dumpster diving), and that friends and relatives account for at least a small portion of incidents.

The rather provocative picture comes from an exhibit in the US Postal Service Museum in Washington DC.