Monday, January 02, 2006

Indiana Sex Offenders Become Identity Theft Victims

WISH-TV is reporting that an Arkansas man has been arrested and hit with felony charges for using Indiana's sex offender registry to scam about $20,000 from credit cards and federal tax refunds in the name of registered sex offenders. "Deputy Doug Gay says Buescher apparently targeted Indiana sex offenders because their information was easy to get from the Internet," WISH-TV reported.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. When Indiana's sex offender registry first became available on the internet, the social security numbers of each of the registered sex offenders was published along with their names. Zachary's Law, Indiana's law requiring the registration of sex offenders, requires that the registrant's furnish their social security numbers, along with their current address. Apparently, somebody figured out this might become a problem and removed the social security numbers from the sex offender registry site, but obviously that action did not come soon enough.

The site contains the following disclaimer:

The information contained in the directory is not intended to be used to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against persons named in the directory, their families, employers, or others. Indiana law provides that any person who uses limited criminal history information for any purpose not specified under the law may be subject to criminal prosecution. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is not responsible for any errors or omissions produced by secondary dissemination of this information.

It is doubtful the victimized sex offenders will be receiving any compensation from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for the damages its negligence has cost them. Will a simple apology be forthcoming?

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