Credit, Government, Personal Finance 

ChoicePoint Fined $15M for Identity Thefts

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ChoicePoint Inc. is one the largest data aggregators of personal identity information and last year it admitted to releasing/selling data on approximately 163,000 records to fake debt collection, insurance and check-cashing companies created solely to steal the information. While an accident is an accident, ChoicePoint failed to adequately check these fraudulent businesses before sending over the information. Today, they agreed to pay out approximately $15 million. Of that, $10M is in the form of a civil penalty and the remaining $5M will be used to compensate consumers. Essentially it cost ChoicePoint $92.02 per record that they revealed.

At $92.02 each…

  • Ameriprise owes $21,164,600 after losing 230,000 records.
  • Lexis-Nexis needs to pony of a check of $28,526,200 for the 310,000 records it had compromised.
  • Bank of America owes a whopping $110,424,000 after losing 1.2M records of federal employees.
  • Citigroup and UPS have to figure out a way to split a $358,878,000 bill after a tape containing 3.9M records from their CitiFinancial subsidiary dropped off the back of the UPS truck.
  • And finally, CardSystems Solutions you win the biggest prize for losing 40M records with a final score of $3,680,800,000.

    Looks like ChoicePoint got off easy!

    If you’re interested, I have written a whole bunch of articles about identity theft.

    { 3 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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    3 Responses to “ChoicePoint Fined $15M for Identity Thefts”

    1. boo big companies says:

      Did they ever fine the person(s) responsible for these identity thefts? One would think that there would be many rules regarding the handling of your customer’s identities and a big way to make these companies’ employees actually care about customer data would be to hold them accountable.

      I know my ears would perk up if on my first day at CardSystems Solutions, they said I could lose my job and be fined $2 million if I lost ANY customer data. I would certainly be careful and follow every procedure.

      I think that when corporations cover the penalties, employees don’t feel accountable.

      Good point on the fairness, Jim. I think that should be enforced.

    2. jim says:

      I don’t know if fining the individual employee would be incredibly effective because let’s say one employee revealed all the information, chances are they’d be fired for not following company policy or some other reason (like costing the company $15M) and that’s reason enough I would think not to make this sort of mistake. That and everyone else who was laid off because the company had to fork out $15M knew it was your fault.

      I think it’s more likely that you have a whole bunch of people, up and down the ChoicePoint hierarchy, who signed off on this. I can’t imagine the data on a hundred thousand people can be sold off without more than one person knowing.

      Also, most work accidents are preventable and they’re usually the result of laziness in following procedures designed to avoid those accidents so personal liability might force diligence.

    3. muckdog says:

      Identity theft is ballooning. I’m not sure how to contain it.

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