Genealogists across the U.S. are encountering new problems in accessing public domain records. Various agencies are refusing to allow access to records, claiming problems with "identity theft." Now the problem will probably become worse.
Credit card theft and identity theft are trade-related crimes so the Federal agency most involved is the Federal Trade Commission. In fact, any detected attempts at identity theft should be reported to the FTC immediately. One recent victim of credit card information theft had no trouble finding the appropriate FTC office to report the crime. The victim is the head of the FTC.
Deborah Platt Majoras, head of the Federal Trade Commission, is now a potential victim after some of her personal information was stolen. An FTC spokeswoman says Majoras received a letter last week from shoe retailer DSW informing her that her credit card information had been stolen. The spokeswoman declined further comment. The theft was first reported by Newsweek.
Majoras' credit card number was among 1.4 million that were stolen from a company database. The Ohio-based company discovered the data breach in March. It affected customers in 25 states.
Ohio's attorney general filed suit against DSW in early June, seeking to force the retailer to contact all customers compromised in the breach. Attempts to contact many of the customers were slowed because DSW does not collect addresses at the point of purchase.
As usual, the theft of credit card information was not Internet-related. It seems that Ms. Majoras had used her credit card for an in-store transaction, not on the Web.
One can assume that Ms. Majoras did file a complaint with the FTC. The commission she manages maintains an ID theft database that helps law enforcement agencies initiate and build identity theft cases.