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July 09, 2010

  • News:  What's Your State Up To With Your Info?

    It's bad enough you have to worry about a credit card or identity thief getting a hold of your information, but Ohio residents have had to rethink security safeguards pertaining to the state. According to a report by Cleveland.com, it was recently discovered that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has been making millions through the sale of more than 1.39 trillion records of personal records. It hasn't been confirmed that Ohio sold any credit card numbers along with the names, addresses, driver's license numbers and other personal information for nearly $42 million. Ohio sold the information to a number of different entities including insurance companies and other municipalities. In addition to the personal information, Ohio also revealed some individual's social security numbers; although the state claims it was for verification reasons only. Nevertheless, with all an individual's most valuable information available for public scrutiny, identity and credit card thieves could have a field day.

    Ohio isn't the only state selling its residents' personal information placing them at risk for identity and credit card fraud, Oklahoma and Tennessee are among those that do. Whereas Ohio sells its records for less than a penny each, OK and TN sell its residents' information for a much higher price. If you lived in OK, your personal information would be worth anywhere between $10 and $13 and Tennesseans are worth $5 each. In terms of identity and credit card thieves, $5 to $13 per record is insignificant compared to the millions even billions of dollars they'll be ripping off. Ohio says they charge so little because their law regulates these records as public record. Therefore, their hands are tied and they simply charge the cost of preparing the information.

    Even though state officials say they do not have access nor do they sell the credit card information of any payment transaction, the news is concerning to residents of all states. After all, a great deal more damage can be done to an individual's credit standing and overall quality of life if their identity is stolen and used to open up numerous card accounts. State officials also say that the information is protected while under their watch; however, once it leaves the state's hands, all safeguards are gone. Two security breaches have already occurred over the past year; both as a result of selling information to the same company, LexisNexis.  

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