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Six Steps To Preventing Identity Fraud

Electronic identity theft is rampant but experts say there are some important steps that every consumer can take to safeguard their identity.

We Found Your Personal Information Online

We'll tell you who put it there and how to stop them

No matter how careful you think you are when it comes to who gets access to your personal information, highly skilled identity thieves utilize a number of techniques in attempts to gain access to your private information. Shredding your documents and monitoring your credit does not protect you from criminal access when state and county government publish your personal  information over the internet and sell it in bulk for commercial exploitation.

Criminals can easily find your Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, address, mother’s maiden name, bank account numbers, signature, and medical information in  documents overzealous county clerks and their vendor partners are publishing on their websites. 

What kinds of documents are local governments publishing online?

The Internet has put local officials in the position of allowing access to local personal information under pressure from national and international corporations who want cheap, easy access to your sensitive records under the label 'public records'. 

The documents include, but are not limited to, deeds of trust/mortgages, birth and death records, tax liens, divorce documents, child custody/support and other civil cases. Very often, these documents contain  mothers’ maiden names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, financial and medical information and addresses of crime victims. Any information you would use to identify yourself can be used by identify thieves to identify themselves as you. Even signatures displayed on the county websites have been easily clipped and pasted onto phony documents.

 By making the public record available over the Internet, technology has over-reached the original goal of providing the stored data to its primary community.  The information is now available to anyone with access to the Internet.  Thus, the taxpayers are paying to provide their own information to a waiting audience of international identity thieves, stalkers and terrorists.

Who sees my information on the county website?

Identity thieves

In 2005 a gang of identity thieves confessed to stealing the identities of at least three hundred Hamilton County, Ohio residents from information they found on the County website. Police in Denton County, Texas reported that James and Paula Cook’s home was stolen when identity thieves stole Mrs. Cook’s maiden name, driver’s license number, and signature. All three identifiers can be found on the Denton County Clerk’s official website. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff issued a press release stating that investigators checked Utah state records and found that approximately 1,800 social security numbers, belonging to children under of 13, may have been compromised.

 Stalkers

Rebecca Schaefer and Amy Boyer were murdered as a direct result of information provided in electronic form by state and local governments. Two weeks after her funeral, identity thieves stole Boyer’s identity and charged up thousands of dollars for her grieving parents to pay.

 Terrorists

Information that has been published online by county governments has turned up on computers belonging to terrorists in Afghanistan and Baath Party officials in Iraq. Al Qaeda training manuals instruct would-be terrorists that 80% of the information they need can be found in the public records.

Who Is Responsible when my personal information is published online?

Clearly, if an institution or business entity fails to protect your information or is somehow party to the breach that revealed information they had filed on you, there is a definite liability question whether it be an institution, an employer, a credit bureau or the government.

Judge Robert H. Aldorf wrote, “It is hard to conceive of a broader invasion of privacy than freely disseminating the information to the entire world and rendering it instantaneously accessible to all.”

Am I Qualified to Register a Complaint?

As a taxpayer, you pay the county to collect and preserve your records, not to publish them online. If you feel threatened by a local or state agency’s website publishing your deed, mortgages, or other documents filed in your name over the Internet and believe this breach of your personal security occurred due to the negligence, error or willful act of the institution that maintains such critical records - please complete the form below.

 Your complaint will be reviewed by an attorney specifically interested in matters pertaining to personal Identity Theft.

 Register your Complaint

If you or a loved one is fearful that you may become a victim of Identity Theft, Stalking, or Terrorism and your state or local government is making your personal identifiers available online you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible lawsuit. Please click the link below to submit your complaint and we will have a lawyer review your complaint.

 

Click here to submit your complaint through a secure form

 

Request free assistance in finding your personal information on your county web site from a FindMyId.com Volunteer

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