Mortgage Crisis a Boon to ID Thieves

As mortgage companies fail, confidential info gets tossed, not shredded
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 8, 2008 6:30 AM CST
Charts show mortgage origination volume and delinquencies, pending home sales index and home equity percentage; 3c x 3 1/4 inches; 146 mm x 82.6 mm   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Homeowners whose lenders have been caught by the subprime mortgage debacle may face increased risks of becoming victims of identity theft, reports MSNBC. Borrowers at some mortgage companies that have gone out of business are finding that their confidential records—income statements, credit cards and social security numbers—get tossed in unlocked dumpsters, prime hunting grounds for dumpster-diving thieves.

Authorities have been slow to punish companies violating a 2003 law aimed at protecting confidential information, filing complaints in just a single case since 2005. The FTC says consumers should try to safeguard private information by finding out how companies file and dispose of ID data, who has access to it and if it’s shared with other companies.