Background on ChoicePoint

What is ChoicePoint?

ChoicePoint is an Alpharetta, Georgia-based company that sells information in three markets - insurance, business and government, and marketing.

What type of information does ChoicePoint gather and sell?

According to statements filed with the SEC, ChoicePoint sells and or provides the following:

  • claims history data
  • motor vehicle records
  • police records
  • credit information and modeling services
  • employment background screenings
  • drug testing administration services
  • public record searches
  • vital record services
  • credential verification
  • due diligence information
  • Uniform Commercial Code searches and filings
  • DNA identification services
  • authentication services
  • people and shareholder locator information searches
  • print fulfillment
  • teleservices
  • database and campaign management services

What type of information does ChoicePoint provide the government?

ChoicePoint's vice president James A. Zimbardi told the Washington Post, "We do act as an intelligence agency, gathering data, applying analytics."

According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, ChoicePoint sells many things to at least 35 government agencies, including but not limited to the following:

  • Credit headers, a list of identifying information that appears at the top of a credit report. This information includes name, spouse's name, address, previous address, phone number, Social Security number, and employer.
  • "Workplace Solutions Pre-Employment Screening," which includes financial reports, education verification, reference verification, felony check, motor vehicle record, SSN verification, and professional credential verification.
  • Asset Location Services.
  • The ability to engage in "wildcard searches," which allows law enforcement to "obtain a comprehensive personal profile in a matter of minutes" with only a first name or partial address.
  • The use of "Soundex" queries, which allow searches on personal information based on how names sound, rather than how they are spelled.
  • Information on neighbors and family members of a suspect.

AutoTrackXP is a favorite produce.  It provides additional information to clients according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center:

  • Linkage services, which draw graphical relationships between suspects and other addresses, neighbors, and Social Security Numbers.

  • Public records, including Social Security Death Master Filings, bookings and arrests, liens, judgments, and bankruptcies.

  • Licenses, including drivers, pilots, and professional credentials.

  • Lists of residents of Georgia, New York, and Ohio.

  • National real-time phone directories and reverse look up services.

  • Business information, compiled nationwide from Secretaries of State.

  • "SmartSeach," a tool that allows broad wildcard searches: "There may be thousands of Jane Does, but there's probably only one Jane Doe who's between 25 and 30 and lives on the upper west side of Manhattan. SmartSearch makes it possible to find that one."

  • U.S. Military Personnel.

  • Boat owners.

What does ChoicePoint say about the identity fraud?

ChoicePoint has stated the following concerning the identity fraud:

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 ChoicePoint's network or a "hacking" incident, and did not involve any of ChoicePoint's 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. We want to tell you what we believe occurred and what information was released. We also want to provide you with details about what we are doing to inform and assist consumers that may be affected, and what we are doing to ensure we have reduced the possibility of future unauthorized access to personal information by criminals.