TALLAHASSEE, FL – LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced a multi-state agreement with a Georgia-based company that collects, maintains and distributes consumers’ personally identifiable information. Attorney General McCollum and 43 additional state Attorneys General signed the settlement with ChoicePoint, resolving allegations that the company failed to adequately maintain the privacy and security of consumers’ information in the company’s control.
“This agreement is a landmark achievement in the fight to protect an individual’s personal information,” said Attorney General McCollum.
“Identity theft is the crime that often never stops victimizing its target, stealing not only their money but also their good name.”
ChoicePoint provides personal identification information and credential verification services to businesses, government and non-profit organizations. In February 2005, ChoicePoint announced that criminals, posing as legitimate businesses, gained access to consumers’ personally identifiable information. Following that breach, the company used the California breach notification law as a guide and mailed more than 145,000 notices to consumers across the country whose information may have been viewed or acquired by the criminals.
As part of the agreement developed with the state Attorneys General, ChoicePoint will make significant, ongoing changes in the way the company grants credentials to new customers who have access to personally identifiable information. Certain sensitive information available to the public, including Social Security numbers, will now receive greater protection. The agreement marks the first time a data broker has agreed to safeguard publicly available information using the same credentialing methods that it uses to safeguard financial information protected by law.
Consumers who suffered expenses relating to identity theft that resulted from the ChoicePoint breach may obtain redress under a 2006 Federal Trade Commission Order that required the company to pay $5 million into a fund for consumer reimbursement. The deadline to submit a redress claim form to the FTC is June 22, 2007. If consumers meet the eligibility requirements for redress, they can complete the redress form and submit that for consideration. More information is available at:
Joining Florida in today’s settlement are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.