Tag Archive: identity theft

NJ Couple sues Countrywide for identity breach

Promoted from the diaries – maybe it’s time the state/feds started looking at treating financial data as being on par with medical data – – Thurman

Maybe it’s time for our elected officials to try and figure out a better way to protect our personal information?  Since Countrywide holds the mortgage on my home, I wasn’t very pleased to see this:

A New Jersey couple is suing Countrywide Financial Corp. and two other people claiming the company allowed a security breach involving detailed financial information from more than two million customers.

Matthew and Danielle Holmes of Mount Holly, N.J., want a judge to grant class-action status to claims that an employee of the mortgage giant stole detailed financial information from customers, sold it to another person, who then sold it to an unknown number of companies.

It’s not like Countrywide has any important information about their customers or anything:

The Holmes’ attorney, Donald Haviland Jr., of Philadelphia, said Countrywide Financial had all his client’s financial information including mortgage information, credit card and Social Security numbers and birth dates. Haviland said the breach has the potential to wreck their finances.

I’m pretty disturbed that I wasn’t notified that my life may have potentially been stolen since I’m a customer.  Let’s see how hard it was for them to get at the sensitive information that holds the key our lives:

The lawsuits stem from the arrest of Rene Rebollo Jr., 36, of Pasadena, Calif., a former senior analyst for Countrywide, and Wahid Siddiqi, 25, of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Federal investigators said Rebollo used a flash drive to download data from about 20,000 customers a week for two years from 2006 through August 2008.

Rebollo then sold the information to Siddiqi for $500 and earned a combined $50,000, federal investigators said. Siddiqi pleaded guilty on Dec. 9 to 10 counts of fraud and admitted to selling the information to third parties, including an undercover FBI agent.

Now they haven’t had any examples of identity theft, but I wasn’t aware I was at any greater risk than normal to be looking out for it.  I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that my life could possibly be ruined for what amounts to twenty five Cents when it’s all done.   And what the hell kind of security allows an employee to walk out with information on twenty thousand customers per week for over two years? I’m disgusted.  Do you know how your mortgage company safeguards your life’s information?

On the political/governmental side, at the very least I would think the company has to notify you of the potential breach of information.  Besides better notification after the fact, do you think there is anything government can do to require better security of our personal information, so situations like this don’t continue to occur?

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, August 8

Open Thread- What’s on your mind, Blue Jersey?

A Pound of Caution

I realize most people in New Jersey don’t pay attention to politics in Texas, but you may want to thank Steve Rothman that we don’t have to make the same mistake Texas did recently.

You see, the State of Texas decided it would outsource the eligibility functions of its social services.  A company called Accenture, located in Bermuda, picked up $840 million to cut through the red-tape and allow Texas to fire a bunch of civil servants.  Now for the punchline: Accenture took the money, mailed the forms to the wrong place, and thousands of poor families in Texas did without food, clothing, and medicince.  Not only that, but Accenture didn’t tell anyone it wasn’t processing the claims for several months.

That’s the nightmare Steve Rothman has spared the entire country.

Democrats Introduce Legislation to Halt Sale of Phone Records

Several websites have sprung up recently that will sell you the cell phone record of anyone you want, for a low, low price. All you need is their cell phone number. Two sites that have recently shut down are CellTolls.com and LocateCell.com, which let you buy records for $89.95 and $110. But new ones have popped up to take their place.

Fourth district Assemblymen Dave Mayer and Paul Moriarty introduced A-2539 – the Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006 – this afternoon, a bill that would end the sale of private phone records of New Jersey residents. Senator Fred Madden introduced an identical Act in the Senate today as well, noting that “with the ongoing threat of identity theft, this legislation is crucial for New Jersey to protect the privacy rights of its citizens.”

The bill would make obtaining someone else’s confidential phone records without their authorization a third degree crime. The bill also applies to phone company employees who knowingly give out confidential information.

The legislators also wrote a letter to the State’s Attorney General, Zulima Farber, asing for a temporary restraining order against these internet sites:

We would like to see the Attorney General’s office act to protect NJ Consumers by taking action to halt this invasive process.

I’m glad to see New Jersey’s legislators acting on this. Hopefully the legislature will act quickly to approve this important legislation.