Information About Identity
Public Records Of Your Identity
Your identity information is held in many places you do not control. An identity thief can find out a great deal
about you from public records. Your telephone number and address are easily found. Everyone knows you can look
someone up in the telephone book. Reverse look up services are now available to find out about you from your
Public records about you can reveal a great deal more of your identity details. Court records, births, deaths
and marriages, motor vehicle records, military records, property ownership records, company information, and a
surprisingly wide range of other sources of information about you are accessible to a greater or lesser degree in
most countries. Sometimes this information is available free, and sometimes on the payment of a fee. Each country
has different arrangements.
Internet services are now available to find people, and to assemble a collection of publicly available
information on individuals. Again, reverse look up information is becoming available from some such public records,
for example from your car's registration details back to identify you as the owner.
General news reports and information that appears on the internet, from club newsletters to sports results and
business news, can tell an identity thief a great deal about you.
If he can also access information held by institutions such as credit reporting agencies, companies you do
business with, education institutions, places you work, associations or clubs you belong to, a surprisingly
detailed picture of you and your affairs can soon emerge.
Governments are usually very aware of private information security. But credit or loan applications, hire
purchase applications, medical records, utility and other payment arrangements, school records, and many other such
routine dealings you have, may expose your information in many different places. Each separate data gatherer will
have different security arrangements, and some will be less sensitive about information security than Government
Some companies, especially credit reporting and direct marketing companies, make a business out of collecting
personal identity information. Criminals may be able to access your identity information indirectly through such
sources, even going so far as becoming paid subscribers to credit reporting agencies behind the front of a
Privacy legislation in many countries has limited what identity information other people may collect and hold
about you, and give you rights to know what their records abut you may show. You should make yourself aware of your
rights, and have the confidence to exercise them if you become concerned that your identity is being misused.