Tags: 1940 census | Identity | Thieves

Census Data Release a Boon for Identity Thieves

Wednesday, 04 Apr 2012 07:48 AM

The U.S. The National Archives and Records Administration has released data from the 1940 Census, providing Americans with a wealth of information concerning their family histories.

It's also given identity thieves another tool to con the naive and the elderly out of money, as some 21 million Americans born before 1940 are still alive today.

Even younger Americans are at risk, as con artists can go and get maiden names or names of relatives, which are often passwords used to protect sensitive data.

Editor's Note:The IRS’ Worst Nightmare — How to Pay Zero Taxes

"This is real data," says IT security consultant Jeff Farr, president of Farr Systems in Dallas, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

"It gives identify thieves the chance to legitimize, to put together a picture, a timeline which can be used to manipulate victims into giving data," Farr adds.

"The next thing you know they are going shopping on your credit card or filing a tax return with your information."

Americans have flocked to the National Archives and Records Administration web site in search of Census information from 1940, crashing the site in the process.

The website took 37 million hits in just hours.

Susan Cooper, an Archives spokeswoman, says the problems began right when the information became public, describing the rush as a "virtual traffic jam."

"The problem is, we just weren't expecting the huge volume that we got," Cooper tells the Associated Press.

"We're adding a lot more servers, a lot more muscle to the website."

Editor's Note:The IRS’ Worst Nightmare — How to Pay Zero Taxes


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