Identity Crisis


An epidemic of high-profile laptop heists shows how vulnerable Americans' personal information is.

THIS HAS BEEN the summer of identity theft. Since May, federal agencies and private companies alike have admitted to exposing millions of Americans to the threat of marred credit reports and imbalanced bank statements through sloppy handling of confidential personal data. The recent news is frustratingly typical: Last month the Agriculture Department announced that one of its laptops had vanished -- along with personal information about 350 USDA employees on its hard drive and a paper printout of the data.

Someone returned the laptop and the printout to a meat plant, but investigators don't know whether any of the profiles had been compromised. Identity Crisis

Linked by shanmuga Sunday, 6th August 2006 11:19PM