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LexisNexis says credit card fraudsters used its data

Belated notice to 32,000

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LexisNexis is in the process of warning at least 32,000 people that their social security numbers and other personal information may have been stolen by identity thieves who used the company's information retrieval service.

The identity thieves operated as business customers of LexisNexis and ChoicePoint, which LexisNexis's parent company, Reed Elsevier, acquired last year, according to a notification letter LexisNexis sent to at least 32,000 people who may have been affected. While the theft occurred between June 2004 and October 2007, LexisNexis withheld any kind of warning until now at the request of US Postal Inspection Service, the letter said.

The identity thieves set up fake mail boxes and used the information stolen from the companies to obtain credit cards in the victims' names.

"These individuals were operating businesses that at one time were both ChoicePoint and LexisNexis customers," the company warned in the notification letter. LexisNexis and ChoicePoint have been the targets of repeated data breaches in the past, but the companies never disclosed them to victims because no law required them to do so, executives from both outfits confessed in 2005.

In the most recent breach, a third company called Investigative Professions was hit by the same scammer, according to CBS News, which first reported the notification letters. The perpetrator is believed to be a Nigerian Scam artist who used the information to make fraudulent charges on victims' credit cards, the news service said. ®

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