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Like you, I am a consumer of various products and services.

I work as a freelance user experience and information architecture web site design professional. This has included positions at Bigbad Inc. as an Information Architect, and at Digitas LLC as an Interaction Design professional. I have deep experience about effective web site design practices, and use this expertise when reviewing various products and services.

During the past 15 years, I have built several web sites covering a variety of interests. This included webmaster duties for my neighborhood civic association.

This blog chronicles my experiences with and learnings about identity theft, identity fraud, data breaches, and corporate responsibility. I started this blog after a former employer exposed my sensitive personal data during a February 2007 data breach. While researching data breaches and corporate responses, I learned that many consumers knew as little as I knew before I started this blog.

Since then, I have learned that the identity theft issues were complex, and mainstream media doesn't tell me everything I needed to know. A blog seemed like a good tool to organize the information I had collected, to explore emerging issues and what I'd learned, to discuss key events, to question assumptions and industry practices, and to exchange information with others.

In my situation, the former employer -- IBM Corporation -- arranged for one year of free credit monitoring for its breach victims. This is a common post-breach practice, and you can read in this blog the related issues and points of view.

For five years, I performed business and economics research at Baker Library at the Harvard Business School (HBS) to support the teaching cases developed and used by HBS professors. I use these research techniques to develop content for this blog.

I also worked previously as a Marketing Manager at Lexis-Nexis (when it was the Mead Data Central division of Mead Corporation). I use the research techniques I learned at Lexis-Nexis to develop content for this blog.

People sometimes ask if I receive compensation from companies and banks whose products and services I review in this blog. No, I do not. Some vendors have offered free products to facilitate a product review, but I always decline their offers. It is important to me that readers trust this blog as an independent source of information. I do not receive any compensation from banks or providers of identity theft products and services.

I've Been Mugged readers can trust that the reviews, opinions, and information in this blog are not influenced or slanted by any compensation.

I do not have any arrangements or contracts with any identity theft product or service providers. In fact, I prefer to buy identity theft products online like any other consumer, so I can evaluate the purchase experience at the vendor's web site and the product's performance. Obviously because of the costs, I cannot subscribe to all of the credit monitoring services reviewed in this blog. Each review states whether or not I subscribe to that credit monitoring service service. I review products and services that I feel need to be reviewed because of their features, content, and/or functionality; not because of a vendor's request.

I realize that identity theft is really scary for some people. So, you'll find humor items in this blog. Just click on the "Humor" item in the tag cloud. It's important to laugh, and believe it or not -- there's plenty to laugh about with identity theft, data breaches, and corporate responsibility.

I also realize that some consumers prefer to ignore the topic of identity theft. That's their choice. Sticking your heads in the sand may seem like an effective response, but experience has taught me otherwise. When you are ready, you can visit this blog for advice and solutions. Of course, the frequent readers of this blog are likely to lose less money from identity theft and suffer fewer headaches, since they will know beforehand what to do to protect their identity data and money.

Disclaimer: The opinions shared in this blog do not represent the opinions of any clients or prior employers, except where noted. The content in this blog is neither legal nor financial advice. I am not a lawyer. I am not a financial planner. If you need legal or financial advice, hire a lawyer or financial planner.

Like you, I am a consumer trying to navigate the complex marketplace of identity theft products, services, and data breaches -- all made more complex by:

  • Rapid technology changes,
  • Offshore outsourcing,
  • Shifting data security practices,
  • Lack of transparency in companies' website privacy and usage policies,
  • The oligopoly status of the national credit reporting agencies, and
  • Government legislation (or the lack thereof)

Many identity theft products, services, and conditions change quickly. This blog is a resource consumers can use to keep up with the rapid pace of change.

All photos that appear on this site are copyrighted by their respective owners. I do not claim credit for the images and photographs, unless otherwise noted. If you own the rights to any of the images or photography and do not wish for them to appear on this site please contact me and the items will be promptly removed.