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 user 2005-02-18 at 11:13:00 am Views: 111
  • #10356
    More Than 145,000 People Face Identity Theft
    ChoicePoint Inc. Is
    Sending Warning Letters to Possible Victims

    LOS ANGELES(Feb. 05)-About 145,000 people nationwide are
    being notified that their personal information may have been stolen by thieves
    who fraudulently signed up with a company that collects consumer data.

    ChoicePoint Inc. announced Wednesday that it was sending
    warning letters to 110,000 possible victims beyond the 35,000 in California,
    where a unique state law requires such disclosure.

    The Alpharetta, Ga.-based company said it decided to expand
    its warnings after learning from Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators that
    the fraud ring appeared to be a national operation.

    “We have no problem with notification,” ChoicePoint
    spokesman James Lee said. “We do very strongly believe there needs to be a
    broader public discussion.”

    The ring, which operated for more than a year before it was
    detected, has defrauded at least 750 people, according to sheriff’s detective
    Duane Decker.

    One suspect, Olatunji Oluwatosin, was arrested in October
    and investigators believe at least several other people were involved.
    Oluwatosin, a 41-year-old Nigerian national, was due in Los Angeles County
    Superior Court on Thursday.

    The thieves apparently used previously stolen identities to
    create what appeared to be legitimate businesses seeking ChoicePoint accounts,
    the company said. They opened about 50 accounts and received volumes of data on
    consumers, including names and addresses, important identification numbers and
    job histories.

    The warning letter advises recipients to check their credit

    The ChoicePoint attack could galvanize support for a
    federal law protecting consumers from corporate security breaches. New
    Hampshire, New York and Texas are considering similar bills, and Sen. Dianne
    Feinstein, D-Calif., reintroduced legislation last month for a national version
    of the California law.

    ChoicePoint, formerly a division of the credit agency
    Equifax but a separate company since 1997, has databases with approximately 19
    billion public records, spokesman Chuck Jones said recently.

    The company Compiles and sells personal information on U.S.
    residents, such as motor vehicle and credit records, car and boat registrations,
    liens and deed transfers and military records.