Identity theft: Companies should pay

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

Roger Snodgrass’ article on identity theft (Wednesday, Jan. 2) was inspired by the recent compromise of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) computers that contained personal information such as Social Security numbers. Snodgrass quotes Wally McCorkle as saying the incident called for “extreme vigilance” and the article further quoted McCorkle with suggestions for one to pursue.

Rather than each affected person paying the $10 per month to Life-Lock or others for identity protection as well as the $10 dollars each per TransUnion, Esperion, and EquiFax agencies to freeze credit report accounts, might I suggest that the real liability and monetary expenses should lie with the agency that has mishandled the information.

Even though one may be meticulous in handling their own personal information, there are agencies (such as LANL and the Credit Reporting folks) that require Social Security information beyond one’s control.

With that mandate comes a responsibility to protect the information and any breach should result in severe penalties. In the present Los Alamos National Security (LANS) case, they should equally be liable with punitive fines as was the University of California in another recent security breach.

Only when these agencies pay for their damages (including monies to those affected) will identity theft measures become stronger and the trend toward this spiraling increase be halted. A “letter of regret” is not sufficient!

Randy Carlson

Los Alamos