ChoicePoint ID Theft Problem Worsens
The identity theft investigation involving database giant ChoicePoint, a company that provides consumer information to insurance companies, got much larger late Wednesday.
The company disclosed an additional 110,000 people across the country could have had their personal information compromised, bringing the total number of possible victims to 145,000. The new tally likely makes ChoicePoint's break-in the largest case of identity theft in history.
"ChoicePoint is actively engaged with local and federal law enforcement agencies in the continuing investigation of a fraud committed against us," the company said in a statement, "through which a small number of very well organized criminals posed as legitimate companies to gain access to personal information about consumers."
The story, first revealed on MSNBC.com late Monday, originally estimated that some 35,000 California residents were affected. Nearly 50 fake companies had been set up to access the information, through which data was compromised last fall.
Although the breach was discovered in October, law enforcement officials prevented the company from disclosing it, even to the victims themselves.
"They gave a toll free number to call, but when I called, the person just read from a script ... they said disclosing too many details may hurt an ongoing investigation," Elizabeth Rosen, a California resident who received one of the letters told MSNBC.
So far, approximately 750 instances of identity theft relating to the compromised information have been found in California alone.
ChoicePoint says it has acted to prevent the problem again in the future. "We are continually updating our processes and procedures to ensure the integrity of our systems and the information they contain," the company said.