Identity theft victim wrongfully branded a sex offender --forever.

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A wallet stolen from Dan Wheeler's truck 15 years ago has now branded him a sex offender -and officials say that could be forever. Wheeler has been fighting desperately to get his identity back and now suffers the consequences and costly effects that make it difficult for him to get any kind of job that involves a background check -- all because of a case of stolen wallet -and identity. Think this can't happen to you? Continue reading...

Whether it's a criminal, medical, employment, financial or reputation identity theft caused by a dumpster diver or a thief who breaks into you car and steals your wallet, you too may one day find yourself in Dan's shoes. Once your data is stolen or compromised, you can't predict or control, the consequences that come with it. And no matter how secure you think your data is -it isn't.

Read on...

A recently released independent study by Ponemon Institute; "The First Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study" sponsored by ArcSight, reports that organizations are getting hit by at least one successful data attack per week. Further, the study notes that these breaches carry an annualized cost to their bottom lines from the attacks ranging from $1 million to $53 million per year. That's stunning.

According to, the report further indicated that Social security numbers were found to be the most commonly compromised form of data, with 69 percent of the breaches during the five-year period studied, showing that the exposure of SSNs was followed by credit cards. Remember, once that SSN lands in the wrong hands -it's irretrievable.

The article also brings attention to a separate report; "The Leaking Vault" (PDF) released today by the Digital Forensics Association. This study found that among the 2,807 publicly disclosed data breaches worldwide during the past five years, the cost to the victim firms as well as those whose information was exposed came to whopping $139 billion. Another stunning figure.

It's time to realize the obvious, no one is immune to the effects of a data breach--or an identity theft. And no one, not a business or consumer, should take the results of these studies lightly. 

The truth is, nobody can guarantee that an identity theft will not occur.  Nor can anyone guarantee that, despite our taking extensive precautions to prevent a home burglary, house fire, auto theft or illness, one will not occur.  Nothing we do can guarantee that we are fully safe and secure from any of these.  We can, however, take specific precautions to reduce our risk and soften the blow.

We lock our doors, we install smoke detectors, we install security alarms and we take vitamins and exercise, all designed to lessen our risk of various catastrophes. Why then shouldn't we do the same for our name, credit and identity? 

No one is immune to data breach or an identity theft -no one should minimize the risk or the many effects either. Identity theft is serious business, and I'm worried that if those who continue to write about identity theft in a manner that minimizes the effects it carries and in a way that doesn't take identity theft seriously, then the public won't take it seriously, either.  And that's not good for business or consumers. 

The crime of identity theft has increased steadily in the past few years and it shows no signs of slowing.  ID thieves are more technology-savvy than the average population, and they actively make use of the technology we attempt to put in place to thwart their attacks. We need to do the same! Those who continue to pooh-pooh the very real dangers and effects an id theft brings with it, owe it to themselves, and those they care about, to become informed about today's more advanced id theft services that help protect and correct problems caused by invasive id theft crimes, before they find themselves branded and left alone to prove their innocence.

Think fraud! If not now, when? 

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1 Comment

That's really awful!
His identity wasn't simply stolen it was used for a more heinous crime.

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