The Federal Trade Commission has mailed reimbursement claim forms to more than 2,400 consumers who may have been victims of identity theft due to alleged security lapses at data broker ChoicePoint, Inc. In December 2006, the Commission mailed claim forms to 1,400 consumers who were identified with the assistance of law enforcement, with instructions on how to file a claim. In April 2007, 1,500 consumers were identified and contacted. The FTC also has created a Web site – http://www.ftc.gov/choicepoint – where consumers who do not receive a letter can download a claim form and obtain information about the claims process.
In 2005, ChoicePoint, which compiles and sells personal information, announced that it had sold information about many consumers to people who turned out to be identity thieves. The FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, investigated the ChoicePoint security breach and alleged that, in some cases, these sales resulted in identity theft. The FTC and ChoicePoint reached a settlement requiring the company, among other things, to pay $5 million to be used to reimburse consumers for expenses due to identity theft caused by ChoicePoint’s security breach. A press release explaining the settlement can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/01/choicepoint.htm.
Consumers who receive a letter and have out-of-pocket expenses due to identity theft caused by the ChoicePoint security breach should submit claims promptly. Consumers who do not receive a letter, but who believe that they have identity theft-related expenses due to this incident, also may submit a claim by completing the form available on the FTC’s Web site http://www.ftc.gov/choicepoint or calling (toll-free) 1-888-884-8772. The form must be postmarked by August 18, 2007 for consideration. The amount applicants receive will depend on a number of factors, including the total number and amount of claims that the agency receives.
More information for consumers is available by calling toll-free at 1-888-884-8772, or by sending an e-mail to [email protected].