TrustedID, a leading provider of solutions to prevent identity theft, launched a free global service that allows consumers to search a secure database to check if their personal information has been stolen or compromised.
The new service, dubbed StolenID Search, contains more than 2 million compromised credit card and Social Security numbers. The company wants to give consumers tools to help them proactively prevent identity theft, said Scott Mitic, CEO of TrustedID.
“We want to make it painfully easy … [for consumers] to find out if their data has been compromised,” he said.
The increase in phishing e-mail scams, virus-related data loss and higher use of electronic data in the business world has resulted in 2006 being the worst year for data breaches, company officials said. According to a November 2006 Gartner study, more than 5.4 million Americans lost sensitive information to phishing scams alone in 2006.
StolenID Search will initially cover just credit cards and Social Security numbers, though there are plans to expand it to include other information, Mitic said. Individuals can enter their information into a secure search engine to learn if any of their information has been stolen or compromised.
The information on compromised personal data comes primarily from partners in the anti-spyware industry, who come across the information while tracing spyware back to its source, Mitic said. Additional information comes from companies involved in taking down phishing sites, he said.
With StolenID Search, users will either get a “found” or “not found” message when they enter their credit card or Social Security number. The search is anonymous—users need not enter any other identifying information. A “found” response means the information entered matches the compromised data held by TrustedID.
Individuals who receive notification of a match will be directed to additional resources to take appropriate next steps to protect themselves, company officials said. If no match is found, individuals can currently choose to have the company monitor three pieces of personal information—such as three separate credit cards—for free for a year.
Last year, the company released IDFreeze, which places a “security flag” on users credit reports at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Once the security flag is on a credit report, third parties making decisions based on the report must double-check the persons identity first.
Jay Foley, executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, said identity theft remains a growing financial strain on consumers.
“A service such as StolenID Search offered by TrustedID is providing an important step in the awareness education of consumers by allowing them to verify exposed data and take steps to defend themselves,” Foley said in a statement.
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