Annual Identity Checks

Updated: 1/23/09

Added information about Innovis, a fourth credit reporting agency. Added information about TeleCheck. Expanded information about ChoicePoint/ChoiceTrust reports. Normalized formatting and other minor tweaks.

Wake-up! Time to get to work. Go get all your identity reports, make sure nothing has appeared that is bogus or suspicious. With the US economy in the same state as your average mushroom farm, getting credit of any sort is exceptionally difficult now. And thieves are going to be taking advantage of the situation any way they can. It’s more important than ever before to keep on your toes! This year I’ve added details on a fourth credit reporting agency called Innovis Data Solutions, and re-verified all the other information is correct and accurate.

Get to it!

Updated: 10/7/08

Moved article from Gather website to JediMercer.com, reformatted slightly for cleaner apperance.

Updated: 3/28/08

Removed Horizonal Rule tags as Gather improperly undoes them. Updated several links and removed the link for stolenidsearch.com as it is now defunct. Added additional introductory paragraph about current year.

2008 is here and our long-promised bounty of money from the government will be sent out in just over a month. Be cautious about any offers on websites or in e-mail about advances on your government IRS rebate, or statements that you need to pay processing fees or other nonsense.

Oh, and it’s past time to do another annual identity check! If you did one of these last year in 2007, you’ll have the extra bonus of being able to compare your reports side-by-side and see any changes. In addition to protecting your identity and your finances, you may even find some ways to save money. So let’s get on with the original article, shall we?

You’re Not as Private as You Think You Are

Privacy concerns are riding high in the media currently, thanks to the high-profile data breach cases with the Veterans Association, AOL, AT&T and others. I’ll just note quickly here that these events aren’t really new, its just general public awareness is increasing. Which is good.

Privacy is a fickle thing in the United States. Unlike many other first world countries, we have no explicit guarantee of privacy rights, though many interpret parts of the constitution as such. Courts all over the land are involved in cases that (re)define privacy rights and law in the USA.

The single biggest issue with privacy rights in the US is having a clear definition of what privacy is. What sort of actions, information or things
can be said to be private? Privacy is deeply tied to social morĂ©s and subjective opinions. Often we Americans will go about our daily business with the assumption certain aspects of our lives are private, and others may not know about them. Yet in reality those parts of our lives are publically accessible. Once enough little pieces of information are put together and correlated, a surprisingly personal view of someone’s life can be presented.

OK, that’s enough musing, let’s get into the fun stuff!