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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Information provider ChoicePoint Inc., has alerted some 145,000 consumers that fraudsters had gained access to personal information ranging from addresses and phone numbers to social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and credit reports. A company release states that the criminals, posing as legitimate small business clients using stolen identities, were also able to obtain other public record information including, but not limited to bankruptcies, liens, and judgments; professional licenses; and real property data. “We do not know how many of these approximately 145,000 consumers may be actual victims of identity theft, but we have been informed by law enforcement officials that they have identified and directly notified approximately 750 consumers nationwide that some part of their identity information has been compromised,” said ChoicePoint in a release. “This incident was not a breach of ChoicePoint’s network or a `hacking’ incident, and did not involve any of ChoicePoint’s customer information. We take this criminal activity seriously and are aggressively addressing it. In addition to assisting law enforcement officials, we are taking voluntary actions at company expense to help affected consumers protect their identity.” In addition to mailing notices urging consumers to check their credit reports for suspicious activity, ChoicePoint has also set up a special toll-free number and is offering free tri-bureau credit reports and a one-year credit monitoring service for each individual. ChoicePoint execs have also decided to make changes to how they assess their clients and maintain security. The company has also renewed its call for a national discussion on how to protect personal privacy and supports the following initiatives: independent oversight and increased accountability of data users and providers to help increase consumer confidence; increased penalties for the intentional misuse of personal information by businesses and individuals; and mandatory notification by government and businesses of unauthorized access to personal data. ChoicePoint has some 19 billion records that are routinely delivered in reports to clients ranging from local, state and federal law enforcement and all federal government agencies to Fortune 500 companies. States with the largest number of people contacted and who may be compromised include California, 34,114 people; Florida, 10,216 people; Texas, 11,081 people; New York, 9,370 people. [email protected]

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