Cover Story - Your Identity Compromised

If you've ever served in the military, graduated from college or taken out a mortgage on your home there's a chance your personal information has been compromised!

The company that loses that information is not required to tell you.

The fact is in the last year and a half just under 89 million people in this country have been the potential victims of identify theft, because someone has lost their information. Here's something else that may infuriate you. West Virginia doesn't require companies to tell you if they lost your information and they won’t allow you to freeze your credit report.
In Kentucky there is no breach notification law but you can freeze your credit report. In Ohio you'll get a heads up about your information but you can't freeze your credit report!

Veterans are also some of the latest potential victims of identity theft. A computer from a veteran’s administration employee was stolen this year. Now more than 28 million veterans have a potential new battle protecting their identity!

They're not alone. These papers are filled with examples of security breaches at colleges, government agencies and retailers across the country.

Assistant West Virginia Attorney Genera,l Charlie Fulton says adding even more insult to injury, if you live in West Virginia, you may never know. 31 states including Ohio currently have a law called breach notification. Companies that lose info about you have to tell you. A bill that would make this law in West Virginia died in last year's legislative session.

Charlie Fulton says "it's a nightmare when your identity is stolen. I’d hate to think we'd be the fiftieth state to pass legislation to protect our consumers."

Here's a good example. Just recently we told you how a medical records company lost some information on employees at St. Francis Hospital and Thomas Memorial Hospital.

Mary Williams from St. Francis Hospital says "A couple of employees showed up to our human resources department with letters they received. And of course we had not heard anything about that until the employees brought the letters in."

Some states have also allowed consumers to freeze their credit reports letting no one but you the option of looking at your credit history.

The credit freeze bill died in West Virginia too last year. But with more and more cases of breaches out there and more real life examples the momentum may be turning. Fulton says it's up to our lawmakers.

Charlie Fulton comments, "anything that slows down the speed of credit reporting and information sharing has a cost effect. The question is how much the legislature is willing to compromise in terms of the cost."

This is a cost to businesses but one that may save you in the long run.

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