Experts now estimate that about half of all computer users have had their personal information compromised or stolen at some point in their lives.
Which half are you in?
A new, free service from TrustedID, an identity management tool vendor, aims to help consumers find out. The service, called StolenID Search, lets users search more than two million pieces of compromised information to see if their information is on the list.
StolenID Search, unveiled yesterday, will initially cover two types of information: credit cards and Social Security numbers. Individuals can enter their information into a secure search engine, and the search results will return a simple "found" or "not found" response, telling the user whether their data matches any held by TrustedID.
Individuals who receive notification of a match will be directed to additional resources that will help show them how to protect themselves, the company says.
"Identity theft is a growing issue for consumers today and one that is an immense financial and time consuming strain on resources," says Jay Foley, co-founder and executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that focuses on identity theft. "A service such as StolenID Search is providing an important step in the awareness education of consumers by allowing them to verify exposed data and take steps to defend themselves."
"The knowledge that your information has been compromised can be critically important in preventing identity theft," says Scott Mitic, CEO and founder of TrustedID. "The key is to find out about the compromise before the information is used to perpetrate a crime. Often, individuals are not even aware that their information has been breached, or that the breach may be ongoing."
According to a study by Javelin Group, a research firm, identity theft victims typically don't discover their information has been stolen until 12 months after a thief first used it. But there is an advantage to finding out quickly, the research firm says. Victims who detected the crime by monitoring their accounts online had average loses of $551; victims who relied on monitoring paper statements had average loses of $4,543.
Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading