Sunday, September 11, 2005

Citizens can avoid identity confusion by routinely checking their public dossiers

Identity confusion can cost its victims access to insurance, mortgages, leases on apartments, or even job offers. When names are similar, background checks can fail to distinguish the criminal's record from the law-abiding citizen's. Consumers must check their public records regularly to catch the mistake before it happens.

Imagine losing a job offer because some public official sees a criminal's dossier and thinks it's yours because the names are similar. This is why it is so important for a citizen to check her public dossier on a regular basis.

Arlington, VA-based MyPublicInfo provides the tool to do so: the Public Information Profile (PIP). Citizens can obtain a PIP by going to my Web site and clicking on the "MyPublicInfo" logo. The PIP helps in two main ways. Anyone who obtains one can view public records connected to his name and see information accessible to other people performing background checks.

You pay your bills on time and take pride in being a law-abiding citizen. Then, some dreg of society comes along and ruins it all. Whether it's identity theft or mistaken identity, a citizen in these instances is essentially burdened with being guilty and having to prove innocence.

A recent article in The Reidsville Review chronicled the travails of a woman with multiple last names from previous marriages. To rent a new apartment, she needed a background check. Officials ended up confusing her, a law-abiding citizen, with another woman whose similar name pulled up a public record detailing a penchant for writing bad checks. The embarrassing and reputation damaging mix-up took many hours to resolve.

According to Dr. Harold Kraft, CEO of MyPublicInfo, "Identity confusion is just one of the problems the PIP helps to combat. The PIP also enables citizens to be proactive in catching criminal activity committed in their names. It is time-consuming to rectify even the honest mistakes that public officials are bound to make."

MyPublicInfo's PIP gives consumers unique and unparalleled access to their public records. It is the first tool to provide consumers with user-friendly, complete, and legally conforming personal profiles of aggregated public information.

Wilmington, NC's "WECT News 6" reported the plight of a North Carolina man, Kevin Horn. His public record showed the criminal history of his high school classmate, who has used Horn's identity as a cover for the past 10 years. According to the report, it has been challenging for Horn to get jobs and insurance.

Citizens need to start thinking about identity upkeep. The price of inaction can be a real-life nightmare. Keep tabs on your public records. Watch your credit reports. Expect the worst and check for evidence of it regularly. Only then do you stand a real chance of avoiding misfortune.


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