Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Identity Theft hits TV folks too ..

I got mine! Did you get yours?

The state of Ohio sent me a letter (always nice to hear from the boys down south, eh?) to tell me that my personal information was on the laptop that was stolen in Columbus a few weeks back. The notice tells me that I need to take immediate steps to protect my identity.

Greattttttttttttttttttttttttt! I've heard of "reporter involvement" in covering a story, but did I have to get this involved?

Actually, I'm not surprised. As a member of the Ohio National Guard and a part-time instructor at the University of Akron, my name had to be in the state system somewhere. The letter tells me that my ID should be safe, but just in case, I get one free year of protection. One free year! I logged on to the website and signed up. (Momma always told me that you shouldn't ever give up free stuff!)

One free year eh? Is that supposed to make me feel better? Reminds me of the day TV3 videographer Larry Baker got a notice that he'd received one free month of dismemberment insurance. That's right, dismemberment! He called his wife and said, "quick honey! cut off my arm!" She figured he'd snapped, but his point was clear: what good is this free insurance really?

I'm not going to lose any sleep over the stolen laptop. I've done enough stories to know that there are a great many ways for bad guys to steal your identity, and our stores lack the safeguards to really keep thieves from opening credit in my or your good names.

Still, if an intern had a laptop with thousands of Ohioans' personal information laying around in his car, what else is floating around in the hands of low-level state employees? Next thing ya know, someone will tell me my tax dollars have been invested in gold coins!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've kind of lost track of the incidents we've heard about lately...
Wasn't this a computer tape that was taken? I'm no expert but the process of getting information off of a tape could be considerably more complicated than accessing a computer hard drive.
For myself, I got a letter from Certegy, that a (now) ex-employee wrongfully removed and sold info to a data broker, who in turn sold info to direct marketing organizations, compromising my checking acct data, credit/debit data, name, address, telephone no, expiration dates, date of birth...
Isn't it wonderful to be living in such an exciting time!