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Preventing Identity Theft in Your Business by Judith M. Collins

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CHAPTER 3IDENTITY CRIME IS ENTRENCHED

The need for business standards of information security has never been greater. In the United States, “information technology” and “database management” are characteristic themes of the information era. To this list might be added “identity marketing.” We are a nation of databases that aggregate, consolidate, and disseminate worldwide the names, addresses, Social Security numbers (SSNs), and other personal information of U.S. citizens. From the time of birth, when newborns are assigned SSNs, and forever after, even beyond death, every citizen becomes a number in one or more databases. Many people may share the same name—first, middle, and last—but no two share the same nine-digit database identifier. Identity crime is entrenched in our society and is here to stay. Why? Because identity crimes are low-risk offenses with high payoffs, and the SSNs with which the criminals work are easily accessible. Most every business today has at least one database complete with these numbers.

Small and large businesses alike use a wide range of computerized systems to efficiently manage, control, and maintain information on products purchased and sold, services bought and rendered, salaries and healthcare benefits earned and paid, and other business activities that use the SSNs of employees and customers. For many businesses, SSNs are financial commodities bought and sold on the market. Many companies, for example, purchase identities, often with the option ...

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