THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG
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UPDATE - 09/16/08 - Some records pulled off the UCC search site in Colorado.
UPDATE - 09/11/08 - CO SOS back online with SSNs. What the heck is Sec. Mike Coffman thinking? He must not be. And he wants to be elected to Congress??? With this SNAFU, he should resign now and just go away.
UPDATE - 03/29/07 (1700 hrs MDT) - JUST IN....COLORADO SEC OF STATE COFFMAN HAS PULLED THE PLUG ON HIS WEBSITE THAT WAS SPOON FEEDING CRIMINALS PEOPLE'S SSNs .
BREAKING NEWS! 03/29/07 (1330 hrs MDT) THE COLORADO SEC OF STATE HAS SSNs ALL OVER HIS UCC/TAX LIEN SEARCH SITE...
The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren, has been told just this afternoon that the Colorado Secretary of State, Michael Coffman, is not shutting down the UCC and Federal Tax Lien search site or even considering breaking links to the images of those public records which contain literally thousands and thousands of SSNs.
The Sec. of State's office was contacted early yesterday morning by Ostergren who advised Deputy Secretary William A. Hobbs, that their website was spoon feeding SSNs, EINs, and other information like Dates of Birth and signatures to anyone accessing the UCCs (financing statements) and the Federal Tax Liens filings.
Hobbs told her that they had no Social security numbers on their site.
She replied, "If that's true, then why am I able to download pages and pages of them?" She told him that she had been downloading them for two days!
She also advised him that the SSNs are mainly on documents from early 2000 thru 2005 and that the sorry part of it is that the people who they are filed against (or about) have NO CLUE that their SSNs have been put online by Secretary Coffman, an elected official.
Ostergren has been contacting people in Colorado reading them their SSNs. They are shocked when they are told their SSN is online. They are also astonished to find their SSNs are available even if blacked out on the internet site to ANYONE who walks into the office to get a copy of the original.
According to Keith Whitelaw, the person who heads up the business section and who oversees these filings, years ago their office did black out SSNs on certain filings from the 1990s.
But there are tens of thousands that have not had the numbers redacted and many contain two SSNs. One UCC found even had four! And the majority of them contain EINs.
In a conversation again this afternoon with Whitelaw, she was advised that he has suggested to his superiors shutting down the site or breaking the links to the images of the records and only having online a summary, but that they are refusing to shut the site down as California and other states wisely have done recently. He said it was "not his call." Breaking the links to the images would be wise to give the Department a chance to find the records with SSNs and redact them which will take months.
The SOS must not care that his office is putting people at risk of identity theft and other crimes.
Here's how to go into the site and download the records: Click on CONTINUE when you get into the site. On the next page click on CREATE AN ACCOUNT (over in the left hand column).
Once you've filled in that (which takes about 30 seconds) you can choose to search for DEBTOR or by SECURED PARTY. The records will come up in pdf format and the SSNs are usually very obvious. ON Federal Tax Liens they are in column "C". On UCCs, they can be anywhere including at the bottom of the page on the JOHN DEERE & COMPANY filings from about 2001 or 2002 thru 2005.
On those at the bottom, they can usually be uncovered by looking for CO 07 followed by nine numbers. That IS the person's SSN. It can also be followed by JDC 79 at the bottom of the filings. The CO number will be different in each state.
The Colorado SOS should consider this a security breach and he should notify all parties who have SSNs on that site that they should FREEZE their credit reports immediately. Read more about that.
Why Coffman continues to put Colorado citizens and others at risk is a mystery - unless, of course, it's because he was just elected in November and couldn't care less about his constituents. His inaction on this important matter speaks volumes and should cost him your vote for any future office he may seek.
Ask him why he's taking no action. I'm sure his office will try to downplay this, but would you like YOUR SSN to be one of the thousands online?
Here's his phone number: 303-894-2200 x 6109
If his site remains open, The Virginia Watchdog will begin to post the public records that we have gotten off that site just like the ones on this link which include Jeb Bush's, Porter Goss' and others' SSNs...
(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)