What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Ripe for identity theft

Lisa Napoli Jul 26, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Ripe for identity theft

Lisa Napoli Jul 26, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: It’s only Wednesday and already we’ve had two data security breaches this week. Since March of last year, at least 46 laptops containing personal information have been stolen or reported missing. Lisa Napoli says it’s not just portable computers that are vulnerable.


LISA NAPOLI: More than half a million people who get worker’s compensation from New York state have been warned their personal data’s gone missing.

A PC containing their information has vanished from an insurance brokerage where the data was sent for conversion to a new system.

Meanwhile, Mutual fund distributor Old Mutual Capital is warning some of its customers that a laptop that holds personal information has been stolen.

BETH GIVENS: We don’t know if this is a trend or if there’s just more reporting.

Beth Givens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says the theft of a business computer can be a two-fer for a thief:

GIVENS: If it’s a savvy thief and they realize what they have they’ll copy the data file and sell the information as well as sell the laptop. In fact, the information is far more valuable than the value of the hardware.

But, Givens says, not all computer thieves realize what they’re getting, so not all of the data stolen will be used for ill-effect in identity theft.

I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.