Credit Monitoring Services; Much like Setting an Alarm After you've Been Robbed...

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Once again, reported data breaches in the news indicate that the organizations who suffer a data loss continue to offer those who are at placed risk of a potential identity theft, the credit monitoring services.

See: The Top 5 Myths and Realities of Credit Monitoring Services

It continues to amaze me that rather than taking a proactive approach when guarding identities and helping those who find themselves at risk of fraud due to any data theft, they continue to take a reactive stance, and offer services that do nothing to prevent fraud from occurring  -and little if anything to help recover from it.

With the continued reports of lost data, hacked information, and the latest reports of growth in ATM skimming, RFID hacking, and phishing scams, having a plan of action and taking the preventative steps to lessen both the odds and impact of an id theft seems more optimal than scrambling around after the fact to clean up the mess.

I would prefer to already have safeguards in place to minimize the blow -frustrations and time involved once notified your information has been compromised. The best way to prevent and identity theft -is to prepare for one. There are services available on the market today, that proactively work to minimize the odds of a fraud occurring -and services that help you recover from it -if it does. Just do your homework and discern which, if any, are of value to you -and always ask exactly what services you are spending your money on, and  what you can expect to get in return.  

Here are a few of the latest reported data thefts;

Hacker compromises data on 11,000 at University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis was the victim of a sophisticated cyber attack that was discovered Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008. The university's investigation has determined that a server containing archived information with names and Social Security numbers was breached on Sept. 8, 2008. The server is entirely separate from servers that store faculty and student personal information such as grades and salaries; that information remains secure and was not accessible to these hackers.

The university has no evidence that any of the archived information was stolen, or that the hackers were looking for that information, but has notified the 11,000 individuals whose Social Security numbers were potentially compromised. In addition, the university has notified the three national credit reporting services to be alert to suspicious activity, and is offering 12 months of free credit monitoring to affected individuals.

The University of Indianapolis moved rapidly to disable all external access to the compromised server, and has called in computer security experts to identify other potential breach points and make recommendations about additional preventive measures. The university unfortunately is among a growing number of organizations affected by cyber crime nationwide. Schools and universities appear especially vulnerable, accounting for at least 20 percent of all reported cases.

For more info go to: University of Indianapolis

Louisiana Blue Cross confirms data breach

BATON ROUGE, La.--Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana compromised the personal data of about 1,700 brokers via an e-mail last week, exposing information such as Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses, according to a Blue Cross spokesman.

The breach occurred Sept. 25 when a document containing the data was accidentally attached to a general e-mail being sent out to brokers notifying them of a software upgrade. The brokers who received the e-mail were the same people whose information was exposed. The spokesman said no customer data was involved.

Blue Cross recalled the e-mail within moments of sending it, the spokesman said, but the e-mail still made its way to the brokers. The insurer notified them of the error, apologized and requested recipients delete the information and confirm with Blue Cross they had done so.

Texas A&M Reports Hackers At Work

Texas A&M University officials reported on Friday that Social Security numbers of more than two dozen A&M Corpus Christi students have been compromised.

A news release from the University reported a class roster was among some documents located on a computer server that was hacked last week. The class roster was for Economics-2301 held during the first summer session of 2004.

Thirty-one names were on the roster. Officials don't think the information was accessed by anyone outside the university. In 2007 the school stopped using Social Security numbers for student identification to lower the risk of identity theft. The company is offering free credit monitoring to the affected brokers for 12 months and has taken steps with its technology systems to assure such an error does not occur again, the spokesman said.


Former Sonoma State University Students Social Security Numbers Exposed

About 600 former Sonoma State University computer science students have had their Social Security numbers exposed to the public through an internal department Web server. Though acknowledging the risk of identification theft, university officials said they were not aware of any criminal or inappropriate activity linked to the slip-up, which was discovered Sept. 2. "This was just, I think, a freak accident of a relatively small proportion," said SSU Chief Information Officer Sam Scalise.

But officials "don't take it lightly," and were taking every measure to alert students and ensure it doesn't happen again, he said.

A former student accessed the roster of names and Social Security numbers through a networking site opened about six months earlier for people previously enrolled in computer science classes, SSU spokeswoman Susan Kashak said. MORE

UK Hospital loses Staff Data CD's

PERSONAL records of almost 20,000 past and present NHS staff have been lost, it emerged today.

The details are on four discs, which have been missing in the post since the end of July.

The discs could be a goldmine for identity fraudsters as they contain the names, dates of birth, national insurance numbers, work start dates, pay details and sickness dates of all 17,990 staff who have worked at The Whittington Hospital, Camden and Islington primary care trusts or the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust since April 2001.

More than 5,000 workers will find that their addresses are also on the discs. MORE

British Military Reports Sensitive Personal Data Stolen

AP/LONDON - Computer disks that went missing from a British military base contain sensitive data on Royal Air Force personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Britain's Ministry of Defence said Sunday.

A ministry spokesman said Sunday two of the three portable hard disks contain personal data on RAF members while the third disc holds no information on individuals.

The discs went missing Sept. 17 from a secured area in Innsworth, 180 kilometres west of London, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity, in line with government policy.

The discs appear to have been stolen, the ministry said.

The ministry has set up a telephone hotline and e-mail address for any former and present RAF members who are concerned about the thefts.

The British government has been hit by a series of embarrassing losses of sensitive data.

In January, the Ministry of Defense said a laptop containing the personal details of 600,000 new and prospective military recruits was stolen, and in November a government department lost a disk that contained the names, addresses and bank details of 25 million people.

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