Identity Theft of an Entire Family

Heard about the hackers who made off with personal data of 800,000 people connected to UCLA?  It’s big news here in Los Angeles.  Included names, Social Security numbers, birthdays and even home addresses of students, alumni, faculty, staff, etc.  Although UCLA says there is no evidence the data has been misused, the fact that it was deliberately hacked indicates that the hacker knew what they were doing, and I’m sure he or she has plans for that data.  (If I were them, I’d lay low for a while until this news blows over).

My mother studied at UCLA; so did an uncle.  My sister earned her masters at UCLA.  Even I took a few classes while in high school.  Great!  Our entire family is now at risk from a single hacking incident.  Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet.  But who knows?

This just reinforces my argument that we each need to assume our Social Security number and birth date is publicly known.  Since we don’t know who has it, and cannot control it anyway, then we must take steps to prevent misuse – on the assumption it can be widely discovered.

UCLA, by the way, to their credit, has posted some concise, understandable steps to take to put a fraud alert and/or security freeze on your credit reports.  See the FAQ on www.identityalert.ucla.edu.  Why not make this the default status of consumer credit, and give each consumer the automatic right to control who gains access to that data and who may establish a new account or loan?

(Hint why it won’t happen:  this would severely cramp the direct marketing advertisers who rely on that data and easy credit approval, like Experian with their unit Experian Interactive.)

Sheesh, today the LA Times reported that Boeing just lost a laptop with Social Security numbers and names of 382,000 current and former employees.  Worse for me, as a contractor to Boeing in early 2001, I had to report my SSN to them, too…

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2 Responses to Identity Theft of an Entire Family

  1. Scam says:

    Maybe it’s just a bias in the way news is reported, but don’t you find it strange how it’s always multinationals and government officials who seem to mislay sensitive data or have it stolen?

  2. “Although UCLA says there is no evidence the data has been misused, the fact that it was deliberately hacked indicates that the hacker knew what they were doing, and I’m sure he or she has plans for that data. ”

    I agree with you completely; there is little doubt that anyone hacking a database to steal personal information is going to commit some kind of fraud.

    Each and every one of those 800,000 people should invest in identity protection immediately. Anyone who doesn’t think they need ID Theft protection isn’t living in the real world. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 25.4% of Americans have been or will be victims of a stolen identity.

    At the very least, take some time to learn how to prevent yourself from falling victim to identity theft, and how to read your credit report if you think someone has stolen your identity.

    I have a very comprensive Identity Theft guide located on Top Internet Guides.com

    http://topinternetguides.com/2007/12/10/what-happens-if-your-identity-is-stolen/

    I hope this help you!

    Thanks,
    Steve Warshaw

    P.S.
    If you have any questions feel free to email me, steve@topinternetguides.com

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