If you do any business in the State of California (http://www.ss.ca.gov/) which involves filing papers with the Secretary of State, such as loan filings under the Uniform Commercial Code, then you should know that until very recently hundreds of thousands of such records containing Social Security numbers were available online to virtually anyone who took the trouble to get them.
I saw this report on http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/regstate/articles/6659632.html
but I also confirmed it by checking the office’s UCC Web page
” We have temporarily disabled the capability to perform online searches and orders. In order to prevent identity theft and protect the personal privacy of people whose information appears in documents filed with the Secretary of State, we are in the process of removing social security numbers from all copies and electronic images of UCC filings made available to the public.
UCC filings are public records. Please do not put people at risk of identity theft by including social security numbers on any documents for filing with the Secretary of State. “
Which I took as a pretty clear, if non-specific, confirmation of the report.
You should take this as yet another warning that governments do NOT protect either business or personal records.
A word to the wise – this should also serve as a wake up call for you to check to see if your state is doing the same thing either with your personal or business records.
Of course it is comforting to remember that if a government agency at any level exposes you to identity theft through posting personal information online then you can always sue them for any actual damages.
Yea, right! Want to place any bets on how far that will get you?