John Taylopr writes a good blog about "Identity Theft and Business." Frankly, I need to spend more time reading his blog. Last month, John covered a topic I haven't yet written about: "Applications and Identity Theft."
John's post highlights some of the organizations that handle consumers' sensitive personal data. John quoted a New York Times article where consumers purchasing an apartment believed that carelessness by condo board members resulted in the release of sensitive personal data used by identity thieves. John's analysis:
"Smaller local databases are extremely vulnerable to theft and loss...What the prevailing wisdom tends to ignore are these thousands of lists and databases that already exist with our personal information. When someone is victimized by an identity thief in Eastern Europe who has bought his or her information for $25 in bulk and resold it to someone else who files a phony medical insurance claim, or a crack addict who sells it to someone with a criminal record who obtains employment using a stolen SSN, do you think they care which database was the source of the theft? The victim is stuck with the fallout that statistically takes from 3 to 5 years to clear up, and even then often resurfaces at a later time."
The bottom of John's post presents a graphic image with many of the databases that contain consumers' sensitive personal data.
My impression is that most consumers don't think about how well (or not) their landlord or condo association protects their sensitive personal data. I know that i didn't when i bought my first condo in Ohio in the 1980s. Today, my wife and I pay close attention to our current condo association.
John makes some excellent conclusions, which I also agree with:
"The public is essentially unaware of what identity theft is, and business has almost no clue as to their legal and moral obligation to protect and properly store and dispose of sensitive personal information... Only through public awareness can the crimes of identity theft be squelched... We are all responsible for each other’s data. Creating better habits of safekeeping it will establish the “culture of security” we all seek."