Lucid Intelligence is the brainchild of Colin Holder, a retired London police detective and one of the world's best-known experts on identity theft. Under Holder's leadership, Lucid says it has been collecting stolen identity data for years from law enforcement databases and volunteers who monitor criminal marketplaces where identity data is bought and sold.
Lucid so far has collected data on more than 40 million people worldwide in a single database of more than 120 million records, according to the site. Users can search the database for their own information for free -- and if they discover they are in the database, they can pay about $16 to get detailed information on what information has been stolen, and in some cases, where it was obtained.
"All of the data in the Lucid database has been in criminal hands and made available on the Internet," the site says. "It comes from sources as disparate and familiar as bulletin boards or chatrooms. Additionally, it comes from FTP sites, which are the virtual street corners where trades for data sales are completed.
"Sometimes files are made available as downloads from Websites posing as marketing sites," Lucid continues. "These sites are often a one-stop shop for spam and phishing operators. Some of the data has been obtained by 'social engineering.' These are carried out by highly skilled operators who engage with the criminal and who effectively 'scam the scammers.'"
The Lucid site contains profiles of only three employees. The rest of the data is gathered by "a worldwide network of sources from all walks of life who have chosen to fight crime where they see it, described by a police contact as a 'neighborhood watch' for a particular part of the Internet used by criminals."
A report in Saturday's London Times says the Lucid database has raised some privacy concerns within the British government, and it is possible that the commercial service could face some opposition. However, the site is currently operating and searchable today.
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