For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: May 31, 2007
ChoicePoint Agrees to Stronger Safeguards on Consumer Information
(Boise) – A legal settlement between ChoicePoint and the Attorneys General of 43 states should lower the risk of identity theft for Idaho consumers, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. ChoicePoint agreed to make significant, ongoing changes in the way the company registers new customers for access to personally identifiable information.
“As a result of this settlement, certain sensitive, publicly available information, including Social Security numbers, will receive greater protection,” Attorney General Wasden said. “This is the first time that a data broker has agreed to apply to publicly available information the same safeguards that are used to guard financial information that is protected by law.”
ChoicePoint is a provider of identification and credentialing services to businesses, government and non-profit organizations. As part of its business, ChoicePoint maintains and distributes consumers’ personally identifiable information. In February 2005, ChoicePoint announced that thieves, posing as legitimate businesses, gained access to consumers’ personally identifiable information. In the wake of these crimes, ChoicePoint notified more than 145,000 consumers, including more than 4,000 Idaho residents, whose information may have been viewed or acquired by the thieves.
The settlement resolves allegations that ChoicePoint failed to adequately maintain the privacy and security of consumers’ personally identifiable information that was in its control. As part of this settlement, ChoicePoint will pay $500,000 to the states. Idaho’s share of the settlement is $5,500.
PREVIOUS FTC SETTLEMENT
In January 2006, ChoicePoint settled a separate action with the Federal Trade Commission and paid $5 million into a pool to be used for consumer restitution. The FTC settlement requires ChoicePoint to improve how it accepts clients that obtain information from credit reports. Today’s settlement with the states goes beyond the FTC settlement and requires ChoicePoint to improve its credentialing process for clients that obtain Social Security numbers and other forms of personally sensitive information.
Consumers who suffered out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the ChoicePoint breach may obtain restitution payments under the FTC Order.
Eligible consumers can submit a restitution form for consideration. More information is available at: www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/cases/choicepoint/index.shtm, by calling the FTC toll–free at (888) 884–8772, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to submit a claim to the FTC is June 22, 2007.
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NOTE TO READERS - This settlement information has expired and is no longer available.