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This Week in Credit News: Identity Theft Galore

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The biggest news this week is all about identity theft, as one government program may have caused thousands of identities to be exposed to scammers.

A government program called Lifeline that provides government assistance to low-income individuals so they can obtain landline and wireless phone service is at the root of a recent data breach that exposed many participants’ birth dates and Social Security numbers.

In all, more than 170,000 records for people enrolled in the program through TerraCom and the subsidiary YourTel America may have been exposed as a result of these companies posting large amounts of information online.

Schnucks Could Owe $80 Million in Illinois for Card Breach

A data breach of credit card numbers at grocery store chain Schnucks recently could mean massive damages for the company, showing just how costly identity theft can be for retailers and, more importantly, why it’s important for stores to protect their customers’ information.

Officials for Schnucks said the company believes 2.4 million credit cards in 70 stores were impacted by the breach, and customers have filed suit against the company for damages, alleging the chain didn’t inform customers of the breach in a timely manner.

Texas: The Most Exposed State in America

More than 24 million Americans have sensitive personal information about themselves listed online, at a total number of 290 million records, according to a new study by the online security firm Safe Shepherd.

Texas residents were the most affected by this problem, with 22 million records exposed for 1.8 million people, the report said. Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio rounded out the top five for having the most exposed records per resident.

Image: NS Newsflash, via Flickr

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