Thursday, December 21, 2006

Simple Reminder

I just came across an interesting story from yesterday’s Chicago Tribune. Seems a resident of Chicago’s West Side was able to pilfer some financial documents from a dumpster outside the offices of SFX Baseball. The story made the news because SFX Baseball handles contract negotiations and other financial matters for professional baseball players, and the suspect in this case had accumulated PII on 91 major leaguers, including stars Jim Thome, Moises Alou, and Pedro Martinez.

The story should serve as a reminder to everyone of the importance of shredding any and all documents that might provide ID thieves with a piece of your identity puzzle.

You’ve got to wonder what the folks at SFX Baseball were thinking when they didn’t shred. It’s one of the simplest ways to protect against data and identity theft. Shredders are cheap, and there are even shredding services that will come to your office to ensure proper disposal of documents.

Heck, in some places you can even find shredding kiosks where, for a little pocket change you can buy a few minutes of heavy-duty shredding.

I’ve gotten fed up with tracking each new data breach story. There have been so many that I’d end up with a terminal case of carpal tunnel syndrome if I commented on each one, but this one caught my attention, and because the holidays are a time when people seem to be handling more financial documents than usual, it was a convenient excuse to provide a simple reminder to shred.

It’ll be interesting to see SFX Baseball’s reaction to this boneheaded blunder.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

SFX Baseball has been shredding all its clients' sensitive documents for the greater part of its 25+ history. In the particular date in question, we believe to be December 5,2006, the documents were laid out to be shredded the next day. That evening,our cleaning crew arrived and assumed the documents were gabbage which they proceeded to wrap up securely and deposit in the dumpster, the contents of which were taken away at 7 AM the next morning. The suspect,Mr.Dright,coincidently, picked that partic,ular cold and snowy evening to go dumpster diving. Having been informed of the arrest of Mr.Dright and his possession of our clients' documents, we were extremely embarrassed and determined to act quickly. Within literally minutes of being provided with the names of all our affected clients, we began contacting each client by phone, prepared a memo for overnight delivery with information regarding credit services to contact such as numbers and webs sites , and began our own credit search on the behalf of all our clients. WE are also working closely with the local investigating detectives and Major League Baseball Division of Security with the contact information for the 70 or so individuals affected. To date, the identity theft for our clients has been extremely light with less than 5 maybe having been touched. Further review will be required to determine a connection. I appreciate your interest in our situation and hopefully your conclusions impugning our firms' competence can be somewhat softened by the explanation provided above. Thank you again for your concern and your considering SFX's explanation of the events. Sincerely, Bob

23/12/06 05:51  
Blogger Mike Spinney said...

Whatever the circumstances, and whatever the history of SFX's document security, the scenario described by Mr. Greenwald illustrates the case in point.

Sensitive documents, scheduled to be "shredded the next day," were left unprotected and disposed of improperly. An honest mistake? Probably, but it begs the question: is/was this common practice for SFX? If so, the fact that we learned of the compromise of sensitive information in this instance suggests that similar information has been exposed in the past as well, though not necessarily subjected to misuse.

23/12/06 11:30  

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