According to click2houston.com, the front office of a Houston apartment complex was broken into in August, resulting in the theft of personal information for hundreds of people. What’s new, right? Well, it turns out the thieves got the information from a filing cabinet. In other words, because a computer or other electronic media was not used, capitalizing on the power of managed data encryption software like AlertBoot was not possible. And unlike other breach reports, this incident has turned at least one person into an ID fraud victim.
SSNs Stolen, $2000 in Charges
The August break-in resulted in the theft of “full names, Social Security numbers, address[es]…and bank routing numbers.” Plus, according to an interviewee, someone had opened up a credit card in his name and racked up $2,000 in a shopping spree.
(Which, based on certain reports, could actually be valued at more than $2,000. There is some kind of scam going on where shoppers are conning Walmart to match fake Amazon price listings, resulting in the sale of PlayStation 4 consoles at less than $100. These gaming machines retail for $400. Combine it with bogus credit cards, and a guy who timed it well could have $8000 worth of PS4 in his hands).
One of the more frustrating things for the above person must be the fact that they “had the credit bureaus on alert within hours of” being notified about the breach but were still victimized. It goes on to prove that, once you have a data breach, it’s not easy to rectify or prevent things from happening. In these cases, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
Digital Data over Paper Data
For all the hubbub that we see in the media over how easy it is to steal digital data, the truth is that traditional data can be (and is) just as easy to steal. Even more important, and something that nobody really discusses, ever, is that it’s harder to protect. With data stored on a laptop, clicking a number of on-screen buttons that installs disk encryption is all it takes to counter the force of government departments authorized to hack into data. A single attempt to break through could take millions of dollars.
Doing the same for paper documents takes some downtime, a brick through a window, and a criminal mentality, depending on the location. Any amateur can make a go for it.