Thursday, April 3, 2008

Many skip Metro’s offer of ID theft protection

As deadline nears, 15% of those whose data was on stolen laptop have registered By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • April 3, 2008 Linda Goldman says she had no trouble signing up for the free identity-theft protection Metro Nashville offered after thieves stole computers containing voters' Social Security numbers. "It was very easy," said Goldman, a nurse who lives in Bellevue. "If you have Internet access, it's exceptionally easy." With just two weeks left to sign up, about 15 percent of the Metro voters listed on the laptop computers have signed up for the Debix service. The city said in January that it would pay for a year of protection for anyone who wanted it, and it expected 25 to 35 percent of the 337,000 affected voters to enroll, based on other states' experiences. Janel Lacy, Mayor Karl Dean's press secretary, said 49,495 voters had enrolled as of Wednesday morning. The deadline is April 16. Two laptops containing Social Security numbers were stolen from the Davidson County Election Commission's offices in the days before Christmas. Police found the computers Jan. 17, a week after Dean announced the Debix offer. Tests indicated that the data on the laptops had not been viewed or copied. Metro is paying a discounted rate of $9.75 for each of the first 20,000 voters to sign up and $9.25 for all others. At those rates, the city's cost stands at more than $467,800. Metro is using money from a special insurance fund designed for an unforeseen event. Debix's usual rate is $99 a year. The 4-year-old Austin, Texas-based company lets subscribers set up a personal identification number and record a "voice key" so it can call them securely whenever anyone attempts to open an account using their personal information, spokesman Shawn Freeman said. Subscribers can accept or decline transactions by using the keys on their phone. Debix's site for Metro voters is

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