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2008 Data Breaches: 30 Million and Counting

Roughly 30 million consumers have had sensitive personal data stolen in the 552 reported data breaches so far in 2008, the Identity Theft Resource Center, told BS&T.

The ITRC, a national non-profit organization to help victims of identity theft, provided figures as of this Tues., Nov. 4. They show the breach trend continuing strongly upward since the ITRC reported in September that breaches reported for the first nine months of this year already exceeded those for all of 2007.

Jay Foley, executive director of the San Diego-based organization, said it's hard to say whether this reflects a rise in actual breaches or better reporting of breaches. It is only within the past five years that most states (44) now require that consumers be told when their data has been breached. "Are we having more breaches or more companies stepping up and saying 'we're having breaches'?" Foley asks rhetorically.

Most of the 30,498,740 records exposed this year represent single individuals, Foley explained. "Each is an individual [name and driver's license number/social security number], a credit card number or a financial account number," he said.

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