December 29, 2007
Over the Christmas holidays, a thief broke into the Davidson County Election Office in Nashville, TN and stole computers containing personal information on all registered voters. Social Security numbers of all registered voters were on the stolen computer’s hard drives.
The Election Commission says it will formally notify the public by mail that their full Social Security numbers may be available to outside parties and is asking voters monitor their financial and personal accounts for any suspicious activity.
The Elections Commission didn’t say if the information was encrypted as is often done on laptops.
If you’re a registered voter in Nashville or Davidson County, start watching your credit very closely. Identity thieves sell this type of information up to 30 times. Chances are the thieves targeted this office purposely to get information to sell on the black market. with approximately 350,000 numbers stolen $5 a pop for each social security number, that’s $1,750,000. Multiply that by 30, and you get over 52 million dollars. A big payday for the thieves.
You can do a number of things to protect yourself from identity theft.
- Place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file.
- Get identity theft protection – compare identity theft protection
- Get your free credit report from http://annualcreditreport.com
Credit monitoring services work, but they have a drawback. They only notify you AFTER your identity is stolen rather than preventing it. Then it’s up to you to get it fixed.
Getting a good identity theft protection plan will help to protect your identity. You’ll find out faster if there’s a problem starting. Doing protection yourself is good. You can set your own fraud alerts or security freezes and monitor your credit, but not as efficient or comprehensive.