TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: LexisNexis: 32,000 Consumers' Data Stolen

LexisNexis: 32,000 Consumers' Data Stolen

Monty Solomon (
Thu, 10 Mar 2005 07:27:47 -0500

By Jeffrey Goldfarb and Andy Sullivan

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Data broker LexisNexis on Wednesday said
that identity thieves have gained access to profiles of 32,000 U.S.
citizens, prompting calls for better consumer protections after a rash
of similar break-ins.

The U.S. Secret Service said it is investigating the incident, while a
company spokeswoman said the FBI has also launched an investigation.

The announcement comes amid heightened scrutiny of data brokers and
other companies that handle consumer information, after rival
ChoicePoint Inc. <CPS.N> said last month that thieves had gained
access to at least 145,000 consumer profiles.

U.S. lawmakers plan at least two hearings over the coming week and are
considering new regulations.

LexisNexis, a subsidiary of Anglo-Dutch Reed Elsevier
<REL.L><ELSN.AS>, said a billing complaint by a customer of its
Seisint unit in the past week led to the discovery that an identity
and password had been misappropriated.

The information accessed included names, addresses, Social Security
and driver's license numbers, but not credit histories, medical
records or financial information.

LexisNexis, which bought Seisint last year, said it is contacting the
32,000 people affected and offering them credit monitoring and other
support to detect any identity theft.

The company is also changing the way it handles passwords and other
security features, said Kurt Sanford, president and CEO of the
company's corporate and federal markets division.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: For the complete report on this
incident involving LexisNexis, see the article by Lisa Minter
elsewhere in this issue of the Digest, and also review our
supplementary news section . PAT]

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