SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: January 30, 2007
CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
COUNTY’S IDENTIY THEFT ASSESSMENT AIMS TO KEEP THIEVES OUT, PERSONAL INFORMATION SAFE
SAN DIEGO - Software upgrades, locking file cabinets and an end to the use of social security numbers for identification purposes were among the recommendations made to the County Board of Supervisors in an assessment of County government’s vulnerability to identity theft.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Vice Chairman Greg Cox initiated the assessment last spring in response to a spike in regional identity theft. At that time, local prosecutors warned that methamphetamine users were stealing personal information with alarming frequency.
“Meth-fueled thieves and other hackers will relentlessly pursue personal information. The County must be just as relentless in our efforts to protect that information,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob who initiated the County’s Meth Strike Force in 1996.
“San Diego County did not wait for a breach to evaluate our level of security,” said Vice Chairman Greg Cox. “We have taken a proactive role in combating identity theft and aim to be the most secure government in the country.”
Every County department participated in the eight month assessment process which began with an evaluation tool developed, in part, by the District Attorney's Computer and Technology Crime High Tech Response Team (C.A.T.C.H) and included trainings led by Jay Foley of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping identity theft.
Many departments reported making immediate changes to procedures after the training.
Assessment recommendations included the use of cross cut paper shredders, placing fax machines in secure areas, using plexiglass cubicles to allow for observation in common areas and ongoing employee training that encompasses personally sensitive information.
On a motion made by Jacob and seconded by Cox, the Board unanimously agreed to begin the search for up to $300,000 to purchase equipment needed to keep information safe. That equipment would include security software, locking mailboxes, secure safes and magnetic access control systems.