Bob Sullivan, on MSNBC, hits the nail right on the head: the reason why personal information is so valuable and why ID theft is so easy, is that it it can be used by an impostor to get instant credit. I'm starting to believe that if companies did more to verify the identity of borrowers, the torrent of ID theft would slow down and maybe even dry up.
MSNBC - Is your personal data next?:
"... Theft of personal data is prevalent for one simple reason: the data is incredibly valuable. It's time Congress and U.S. financial institutions take an honest look at why that it is, at the only reason anyone wants to steal all that personal data in the first place: the free-flowing, overflowing issuance of instant credit.
Today, consumers can walk into virtually any electronics store with an empty wallet and walk out with a $3,000 television set in a few moments. Often, all that's required is a Social Security number that happens to be attached to a decent credit rating. As long as these stolen nine digits are worth $3,000 or more, criminals will always find a way to take them.
Only meaningful reform of the way our nation distributes instant credit will change this equation. Hackers will always steal what's valuable; only by de-valuing personal information like Social Security numbers will the rash of high-tech data thefts stop...."