Be afraid…..be very afraid.
We live in a world where our personal habits, personal preferences, personal information, and private lives are sometimes taken for granted. Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer now realizes the folly of this careless, foolish and whimsical approach.
Last week, msnbc.com reported about the rash of failed savings and loans who are dumping mountains of personal information into trash bins as their businesses shut their shingles, fold their tents and abandon their clients.
The article chronicles the failure of First Magnus Corp. who was one of the largest mortgage lenders in the nation. The company was hailed as a “powerhouse” of savvy technological innovation. As unimaginable as it seems, “tens of thousands” of documents including credit card and social security numbers were “dumped” in a nearby trash bin.
It now appears that every personal tidbit we make available in the process of securing credit for mortgages and secured or unsecured personal or commercial loans is up for grabs and beyond our ability to provide or even expect protection. Is that line of credit really worth the open exposure of all your personal data?
This new reality hit home for me today as an eagle-eyed industry associate correctly pointed out that a commercial lender who served each of our company’s mutual business clients had suddenly collapsed, leaving their customers and pending applicants’ data completely unaccounted for.
Mountains of juicy private data files are turning up in dumpsters and garbage cans all over the country. This criminal carelessness leaves us all exposed and hopelessly vulnerable beyond our control.
What’s a consumer to do? Protect yourself at all costs. Private identity theft insurance, regular credit monitoring and reactive credit restoration services are all good ways of keeping your guard up. To avoid pro-active identity self-defense is foolish.
The reality is that the information that passes through our hands and into the care of nameless, faceless, careless corporate grunts cannot be safeguarded with any degree of reliability.
Despite the fact that the Fair Credit Reporting Act was amended by Congress in 2003 to mandate better consumer privacy protection, commerce and industry must each do their part.
Because of the implosion of the sub-prime lending industry, many phone lines are down, many office cubicles are empty and many trash bins are full. In the new financial frontier its “every man and woman for themselves”.
Why not begin your proactive identity theft prevention/resolution plan today?