Reacting after a Data Loss Occurs may be a little too little...and a lot too late!

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According to the FBI, identity theft affects about ten million Americans each year, costing individuals and businesses $52 billion. It often appears as though companies are reactive when a data loss occurs, as opposed to being proactive and making it a priority to offer identity theft protection and/or education to their customers, employees and clients before a data loss happens. The obvious pattern of offering free monitoring services after data is compromised, does nothing to prevent harm to those affected by such loss. Fines, penalties, monitoring services and defending lawsuits resulting from a data theft is much more costly and detrimental to business. And in some cases the expense of rectifying the mess left behind by a hacker or thief may force some businesses to close their doors.

Those businesses that will be required to comply with the new  Red Flag Rule requirements and initiate identity theft prevention policies and procedures will hopefully be effective in reducing the number of breaches that lead to  identity thefts.

Here's a few of the latest data breaches reported during the last two weeks;

MediCorp offers up ID theft protection

MediCorp Health System offers fraud protection to patients whose personal information was exposed on its computer system.  MediCorp Health System has offered hundreds of patients a free subscription to a credit-monitoring service after their private medical information was exposed online.

MediCorp, the parent company of Mary Washington Hospital, made the offer last week, nearly a month after patient data temporarily became available to the public.

Letters went to 760 people who had used the online registration system, said Mahogany Hart, spokeswoman for MediCorp. Many were maternity patients who had preregistered online for delivery of their babies at the Fredericksburg hospital.

Jina Haikey, MediCorp's privacy officer, told patients in the letter that the company has contracted with ID Experts, a computer security firm, to notify patients of any changes in their credit reports. MORE

Personal data of some N.C. residents stolen.

A state-owned laptop computer with personal information about 85,045 North Carolina residents was stolen last month in Atlanta, state officials announced today.

The information included the full Social Security numbers of 52,391 clients of the state Division of Aging and Adult Services, said Lori Walston, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services. It also included personal data about 32,645 additional clients, including the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. MORE

Clients' data missing, Harvard Law warns
Computer backup lost during transit

Harvard Law School is alerting thousands of clients from a legal services clinic after a computer tape containing their Social Security numbers, addresses, and financial information was lost in September.

The personal information, dating back 10 years, belonged to about 21,000 people who sought help through the school's legal services center in Jamaica Plain, Robert London, a school spokesman, said yesterday. About 8,000 records of present and former clients contained Social Security numbers; another 13,000 had other identification information. MORE


If you believe you may be affected by this latest data breach,or any other recently reported losses listed on this blog, take the time to place fraud alerts and/or freeze your credit...and see earlier blog for additional steps you can take to avoid the impact of an identity theft: Are you one of the tens of millions to be notified your information is in the hands of thieves? Do you have a plan of action?

Identity Theft Victim Sues 3 Stores
Man Says Companies Didn't Protect Him From ID Theft

A Howard County, MD man is suing three companies, claiming they didn't protect his identity from being stolen.

Police said Lavon Caldwell and members of his theft ring stole the identities of at least 15 people and used them to buy several items, including cars. One of those victims was Gregory Peel. "I received correspondence in the mail saying that my tags were in," Peel said. "It's like you're watching a movie and you're the character."

Prosecutors said they think Caldwell used fake driver's licenses. "It was just amazing that the driver's licenses looked really good," said Detective Colleen Richarts of the Baltimore County Regional Auto Theft Task Force. She said she spoke with Caldwell after his arrest. watch report

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