Response to Customer Fraud Litigation

Many of you have seen recent news releases about Choice Point's involvement in the illegal use of their services to provide background checks on individuals. However, many of these reports are quite inaccurate.

What happened is that Choice Point opened an account for a fraudulent company and submitted names and information (including social security numbers) provided by this company for a financial background search. The data submitted to Choice Point had been obtained illegally from other sources; none was provided to this company by Choice Point.

NY West uses Choice Point for background checks of individuals needing a risk management pass. None of the data we have submitted on our volunteers has been compromised, and we are totally confident that the procedures we follow more than adequately protect our data.

For more on this issue read the attached statement from Choice Point:

As part of the effort to keep our customers fully informed about the recent crimes committed against ChoicePoint, I wanted to provide you with details from our most recent company statement. You can view the full statement at

As you are aware, ChoicePoint is actively engaged with local and federal law enforcement agencies in the continuing investigation of a fraud committed against us, through which a small number of very organized criminals posing as legitimate companies gained access to personal information about consumers. This incident was not a breach of ChoicePoints network or a hacking incident, and did not involve any of ChoicePoints customer information.

We want you to know we take this criminal activity seriously and are aggressively addressing it.

In addition to assisting law enforcement officials, we are taking voluntary actions at company expense to help affected consumers protect their identity.

Our primary focus remains assisting those consumers whose confidential data may have been fraudulently obtained by these criminals.

We expect that all of the approximately 145,000 notices will be mailed by the end of the week.

We have set up a special toll-free number for use by consumers who receive these notices. Our notices urge consumers to check their credit reports for suspicious activity and provide information on how to obtain their credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus via phone, mail, or web.

To be of further assistance we have purchased tri-bureau credit reports and a one-year credit monitoring service at our expense for each individual. Our notification letters also inform consumers how to obtain these services, free of cost to them, via phone or web.

Financial fraud and identify theft are pervasive problems in the economy. While ChoicePoint offers a wide range of tools to help detect fraud, no one - including us - is immune from it.

ChoicePoint has acted quickly to address the circumstances that led to the unauthorized access. We are continually updating our customer credentialing and enrollment processes, on-going account monitoring analytics and our periodic customer auditing programs to help ensure the integrity of our systems and the information they contain.

We are taking the following additional steps:

  • We have asked Mr. Robert McConnell, to serve as our liaison to law enforcement officials and to provide insight for developing additional protections to guard against future fraud. Mr. McConnell, is a retired 28 year veteran of the United States Secret Service. During his last five years with the Secret Service, Mr. McConnell supervised the interagency task force responsible for the investigation of Nigerian Organized Crime.

  • We are presently going through a rigorous re-credentialing of broad categories of customer accounts, including small business customers. We have made, and will continue to make, product changes that limit the information these customers are able to obtain before, and after, this re-credentialing is completed. These changes include masking or truncating sensitive personal identifier information (including social security numbers and drivers license numbers). Most of this fraud occurred in our small business public record product segment, representing less than five percent of our annual revenue. All of these customers will be impacted by our data restrictions and re-credentialing efforts.

This unfortunate and regrettable criminal act has instilled in us a determination to lead this fight within the broader information industry as well. We have already begun sharing our experiences, observations and ideas with several of the other major corporations in our industry, and we will seek to lead an industry-wide initiative to develop, adopt, and deploy new measures that will identify and halt identity theft and fraud.

We remain committed to providing the best information products and services that help you meet your goals. I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please contact me at your earliest convenience.


Heather Frazier