ChoicePoint has settled for $15 million in the theft of data charges brought against it. The events occurred in February 2005 when 145,000 customers were put at risk because of their lax security. Their unwillingness to divulge that their system had been compromised for more than 4 months after they discovered it allowed thieves to manage ripping off at least 750 people.
The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that data warehouser ChoicePoint Inc. will pay $15 million to settle charges that its security and record-handling procedures violated consumers' privacy rights and federal laws.
The FTC said it had fined the Alpharetta, Ga.-based company $10 million and that Choicepoint would pay an additional $5 million that will be used to compensate consumers.
The data breach involved thieves posing as small business customers who gained access to ChoicePoint's database, possibly compromising the personal information of 145,000 Americans.
"The message to ChoicePoint and others should be clear: Consumers' private data must be protected from thieves," Deborah Platt Majoras, chairman of the FTC, said Thursday in a statement.