The City of San Diego has filed a lawsuit against Experian, one of the the three major credit reporting agencies alleging that it never alerted consumers of a data breach affecting 250,000 people from San Diego in violation of California law. The data breach, about which I wrote three years ago involved Hieu Minh Ngo who pleaded guilty to a number of identity theft related charges in the Federal District Court of New Hampshire who was sentenced to 13 years in prison.  Between 2007 and 2013 Ngo obtained access to as many as 200 million consumer records from large data brokers including Court Ventures, which in 2012 was acquired by Experian. Ngo was able to access these records by posing as a private investigator.   Putting the number of total victims into perspective, it represents 60% of the population of the United States.   He then sold to identity thieves comprehensive packages of consumer data, referred to in the world of identity thieves as “fullz,” made up of individuals’ names, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates bank account numbers and bank routing numbers, on black market websites he operated called and  According to the Justice Department, Ngo sold fullz to 1,300 identity thieves, who in turn committed large numbers of identity theft including 65 million dollars in income tax identity theft alone.  Ngo could have been sentenced to 24 years in prison, but through a plea bargain got a reduced sentenced in return for his cooperation in identifying his former identity thief customers.
This case is yet another example of how vulnerable we all are to identity theft because we are only as secure as the companies and governmental agencies that have our personal information.  One thing, however, we can all do to protect ourselves is to put a credit freeze on our credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, which will prevent access to our personal credit records and the information contained therein.  Go to the “Search for Scams” tab at the top of the first page of scamicide and type in “Credit Freeze” which will take you to the Scam of the day for November 1, 2017 which has the information you need about how to put a credit freeze on your credit reports.
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