RealNews

To Thwart the Identity Thieves

With the problem getting worse each year, only a bold reform approach will do the job. How about a market-based solution? In Phoenix, a burglar allegedly lifted a computer from TriWest Healthcare Associates that holds key personal information, including Social Security numbers and health records of 500,000 U.S. Defense Dept. employees from 16 Western states. In Long Island, N.Y., a low-level clerk at tech company TCI is charged with downloading 30,000 credit reports without authorization and selling them to two accomplices for $60 a piece to assist a wide-ranging identity-theft caper. At Boston College, authorities say a computer-science student installed software to grab keystrokes on hundreds of campus computers to harvest personal information. They allege that he nabbed key data input by thousands of professors, staff, and fellow students, including hundreds of Social Security numbers. Each of these frightening incidents occurred within the last six months. Connect the dots, and you find a uncontrolled epidemic of identity theft. It’s not that no laws are on the books: All but five states have enacted their own identity-theft laws. The federal government passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1996, which gives individuals better access to their credit reports. And Uncle Sam made identity theft a federal crime in 1998. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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