Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Perspectives on "Identity Theft"

WYFF-TV, “The Carolina Channel,” interviews two fraudsters who made money impersonating others. If you have any doubt these people are scum, one impersonated his own brother, and stole $71,000.

In another, on Dave Farber’s list, victim Tom Goltz writes:

Speaking as a victim of identity theft, there is absolutely nothing that an individual can do to effectively protect themselves against identity theft.

Do you know what your identity is worth? Mine cost $200. That’s what a
criminal paid on a street corner in Los Angeles. Add in $75 for a
low-grade forgery of a driver’s license, and he was in business. To this
day, I have been unable to discover how my personal information ended up on
that street corner. I own and religiously use a high-quality confetti-cut
paper shredder. I have never received sensitive financial correspondence
at the unsecured mailbox at my home, instead renting a locked post office
box. I have made a policy of not disclosing my social security number
whenever possible. My SSN has never been on my driver’s license. It has
never been printed on my checks. I do not carry my social security card in
my wallet, nor any other document bearing my SSN.

Goltz is right. The Choicepoints, the Lexis Nexises, and their utter lack of liability means they can’t justify investing in protecting the data that they have. Banks are pushing hard to be allowed to decide when a theft is likely to lead to problems for you. (Gosh, Iwonder what they’ll decide?)

The problem stems from financial institutions granting credit easily, and then blaming the victim, by spreading lies through the credit bureaus. As long as these organizations have no responsibility for the problems they allow to happen, and then magnify by ignoring the victims…

2 comments on "Perspectives on "Identity Theft""

  • The Source of Identity Theft

    Emergent Chaos, the number one scourge of data aggregator ChoicePoint and dedicated reporter of their scandal, actually lets them off the hook when it comes to identity theft, instead pointing the finger at financial institutions that give away easy cr…

  • IT Security & Enterprise Architecture

    Seemed like I stirred up some trouble in my last blog entry on IT security professionals. Guess some folks are offended that I referred to them as big fat idiots who are doing a disservice to the industry by blogging…

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