WHO, WHAT, WHY
Background on the who, the what and the why of Frozen Pii
Who is behind Frozen Pii?
I'm Tom, a victim of a massive data breach. In 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it had been the target of “a coordinated campaign to collect information on government employees, [during which] attackers exfiltrated files of 4.2 million former and current government employees and security clearance background information on 21.5 million individuals.”
Data breach victims face the constant threat that criminals will use their stolen "personally identifiable information" (Pii) to obtain fraudulent new loans and new credit lines associated with their identity.
I created Frozen Pii as a free public service and resource for anyone who wants to prevent criminals from using their stolen identity ("stolen Pii") to get fraudulent new loans and credit lines using their stolen Pii.
I do not earn any money from Frozen Pii. I built, run and keep FrozenPii.net running on my own personal time and dime.
What is Frozen Pii all about?
Frozen Pii is all about helping past/future data-breach victims and phishing victims to protect themselves from becoming victims of criminals who get fraudulent new loans and new credit lines with victims' stolen Pii, without paying outrageous fees to do so.
Millions of people every year become victims of Pii-stealing data breaches and phishing campaigns. The chance that data breach victims will become victims of identity fraud have increased from 1-in-9 in 2010 to 1-in-3 in 2014. Identity fraud occurs when criminal hackers sell stolen Pii on the Internet’s underground marketplace (the Dark Web/Dark Net) to other criminals. Those criminals then use stolen Pii to get fraudulent new loans and new credit lines associated with the identities of data breach and phishing victims.
CMA Services - The financial service industry has turned the threat of identity fraud into a $4 billion credit monitoring/alert (CMA) industry. CMA services typically cost consumers $120 to $360 per year, which adds up to thousands of dollars over the years to maintain CMA services.
CMA services do not prevent criminals from using stolen Pii to obtain new loans and credit lines. CMA companies monitor postings of new loans and credit lines with credit reporting agencies (CRAs) (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) and issue post-fraud “alerts” to their customers of the new loans and credit lines. CMA customers then must check the new loans/credit lines alerts to determine whether a criminal obtained the new loans and credit lines, and take remedial action to avoid the financial harm of identity fraud.
The effect of the CMA business model of post-fraud alerts is to perpetuate the vicious cycle of Pii-targeted data breaches and phishing campaigns that fuel identity fraud crimes, which in turn helps grow CMA company profits.
Security Credit Freeze - Few consumer know about a security "credit freeze" - an alternative no-cost/low-cost way for people to protect their identity by effectively preventing criminals from using their stolen Pii to fraudulently obtain new loans and new credit lines.
Consumer protection laws in every state empower people to protect their identities by exercising their legal right to order a security “credit freeze.” Depending on your state residency, security credit freezes are free or low-cost, and do not require monthly payments of expensive subscription fees to CMA companies.
Why build Frozen Pii?
Everyone’s Pii, including social security numbers (SSN), either has been stolen or will be stolen in a data breach or phishing campaign. There’s a 1-in-7 chance criminals have already used your SSN. In fact, identity fraud involving the use of your SSN is so pervasive that someone in the United States becomes a victim of identity fraud every 2 seconds.
When criminals use your stolen Pii to steal money, goods and services from businesses and financial institutions, it's not easy to fix your identity and financial reputation. Clearing your good name and financial reputation can be a difficult, stressful, time-consuming and sometimes costly ordeal.
I have built Frozen Pii because no one else has.
Frozen Pii provides reliable information about state and federal consumer protection laws designed to help people protect their identity for little or no cost. On this website, you will find information and supporting links to help you:
- understand how a security credit freeze works to prevent you from becoming a victim of fraudulent new loans and credit lines associated with your identity,
- order a security credit freeze directly with each of the Big-3 credit reporting agencies (CRAs) - Experian, Equifax, TransUnion - to prohibit CRAs from releasing your credit reports to thousands of potential new lenders, without your express authorization using a personal identification number (PIN),
- opt out of unsolicited direct-mail credit and insurance applications caused by the CRAs release of your identity data,
- obtain free annual copies of your CRA credit reports to check for and correct errors (including unauthorized credit cards, loans and debt caused by criminals) that lower your credit score and increase your interest rates and insurance premiums, and
- file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for a free identity theft recovery plan.
(click on the blue text for supporting documentation)
I have published FrozenPii.net as a free public resource designed to educate and assist people in understanding and executing their legal right to a security credit freeze. Information posted on this website was accurate at the time it was published. Information contained on this website is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. There is no guarantee regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information on this website.