Insist to your elected representatives that your financial data be locked down, encrypted and guarded by those entrusted with storing, transporting and using it. Since our financial, medical and legal lives are increasingly being housed in digital form and transmitted between data centers of multiple handlers - we need to know it is secure. We also need to know when that security has been breached and our data compromised or lost.
Thieves are becoming more aware of ease with which they can find and access financial data. Hacking is not source of greatest losses.
Organized crime has easily found their way into our financial records by simply paying for it by posing as "legitimate" business customers of information brokers such as ChoicePoint and Lexis/Nexis. Any business can buy financial and credit information from those information bureaus and credit reporting agencies by meeting rather lax requirements for "need to know" that data.
As long as it is possible to purchase our sensitive data from brokers and bureaus, organized crime will "legitimately" buy it from those sources, then ruin our credit by selling that information at a higher price in identity theft schemes.
Since disclosure laws have come into effect, those breaches have been made public, credit cards cancelled before losses can occur and credit reports monitored to watch for suspicious activity. The bad guys activities are squelched because we are made aware of possibility our information has been compromised.
Not all blame can go to financial institutions and data brokers. Protect your own private data by protecting your computer records at home, in office, on your laptop and in your PDA by using basic keyword security and locking down files. Use built in encryption on your operating system and your home network to keep data secure. Then be certain to clear that sensitive data off computer when you sell it or throw it away.
Data security is something we all need to take seriously and corporate breaches are dramatic illustrations of how important it has become to build digital fortresses around our critical financial, legal and medical information.
Mike Banks Valentine is a privacy advocate and blogs about privacy issues at http://privacynotes.com/privacy_blog/ You can read more about identity theft issues at: http://shorl.com/hudryrygepregru
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