Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just like when James Woods took over Peter Griffin's life

Yesterday, I received the notice that several Countrywide customers received -- that a (now former) employee sold unauthorized personally identifiable information (PII), that could include SSN, Address, Account Information, and other really bad things.

The best part about it -- the IDIOT sold SSN's for approximately 2.5 cents each.

Working for The Company, I have to take regular online courses about things such as that deal with privacy matters. I realize that many companies have sensitive PII, and it scares me. In order to get a financial account, you need to provide your SSN. You also need to provide this to set up a number of your utilities. They perform a credit check to determine your worthiness and how much you pay in fees. The lower your credit score, the higher the fees.

Now, I'm going to take a quick digression on this -- If you have a low credit score, you're going to pay more. Let's think about this for a minute -- Who generally has lower credit scores? The people who don't make enough to pay their bills on time. So, we're going to penalize these people who are already barely making ends meet and charging them more -- providing an endless cycle of debt. God bless the American Way.

So, I've started to determine who has my information -- I've come up with the following:
  • Mortgage Company
  • Gas Company
  • Electric Company (and not in the "HEY YOU GUYS!!" kinda way)
  • My Bank(s)
  • My Credit Card holder(s)
  • Sallie Mae
  • My School(s)
  • US Government
  • Dr. Hottie's Office
  • My Dentist's Office
  • My Chiropractor
  • The Company (and other previous employers)
  • The DMV
  • The Credit Reporting Bureaus
Pretty much anyone I pay on any regular basis. And, I'm pretty sure it's greatly incomplete!

Seems like a larger number of organizations than I realized at first have information that can be used for identity theft. I can't believe it's apparently so easy to take over someone's identity.

So, today, I have the exciting task of contacting the three major credit reporting bureaus and placing Fraud Alerts on my files. I don't know the full impacts this is going to have, but I can imagine it's not going to be a great thing.

1 comment:

Salon Chick said...

Sad but true that so many people have access to our information. I think there should be some kind of format like you have previously mentioned that ING Direct has whereby anytime I enter certain numbers a keypad is shown on the screen and something different is entered everytime. And I am also one of those people who is not offended by using my thumb print to make transactions. If you want to make sure I'm the one spending my money I am very happy about that!