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FL Congressman Robert Wexler Targeted in ID Theft Extortion

Sun Sentential reports that Congressman Robert Wexler, of Florida, was targeted by an extortionist who threatened to turn his Social Security number over to identity thieves. Wexler refused to give in to the extortionist’s demands, and reported the plot to the Secret Service and Capitol Police. Other members of Congress were targeted, as well. The alleged extortionist has been arrested and remains in custody in Ghana.

Wexler’s attorney, Pamela J. Marple, issued a statement:

“Congressman Wexler greatly appreciates the professionalism and ongoing assistance of the United States Secret Service and Capitol Police regarding a matter where he was targeted as a member of Congress and was the victim of crime involving extortion and attempted identity theft. This remains an ongoing legal matter that will be closely monitored.”

The Ghanaian telephoned Wexler this month while President Barack Obama was visiting Ghana, guarded by Secret Service agents. Wexler reported the matter to the Secret Service while they were in the country, which helped the investigation. The congressman, while understandably shaken that he was being extorted, should have already known that his Social Security number is out in the wild. Our Social Security numbers are in public records, databases, file cabinets, school records and, quite possibly, for sale on the Internet.

  1. Be aware that your Social Security number has already been compromised. Over the past five years, hundreds of millions of records have been stolen in major data breaches.
  2. Do everything you can to prevent your own data breaches by making sure to install and update Internet security software.
  3. Never use public PCs where spyware might be installed.
  4. Recognize that when using wireless in a hot spot, your personal information is available for the taking.
  5. Do a scan in the public records in your state to see if your Social Security number is posted anywhere.
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