Fairfax County Addresses Identity Theft Concerns


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov

Jan. 7, 2008

Fairfax County Addresses Identity Theft Concerns

Identity theft is a growing national concern, and the Fairfax County government has taken steps to address it while allowing online access to information needed for business and personal use. The Fairfax County Web site does not list sensitive personal information, and Social Security numbers are not available on this site.

To protect the integrity of the online information, the county does quarterly penetration tests of the Web site and the technology environment to ensure that no inappropriate information is available and no unauthorized penetration has occurred. Fairfax County does have a secure, subscription-only, password-protected, online portal for court records.

As a public service and in accordance with Virginia law (Virginia Code Section 2.2-3808.2), public records, some which may contain Social Security numbers, are available for viewing through subscription from CPAN, the Fairfax Circuit Court's public access network.

In accordance with the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA), documentation is required for each person who subscribes to CPAN. Fairfax County follows VITA's stringent security standards. There is a fee for accessing these Circuit Court public records, and original, notarized documents must be submitted before a potential user gains approved access. Then each user is given a unique user ID and password that ensures only the individual allowed to access this subscription portal will be accessing data.

This protected site is used primarily by title companies, real estate attorneys and local and state governmental agencies needing access to the records for business purposes. All of these records are also available in the Fairfax County courthouse, in accordance with Virginia Law.

Fairfax County provides access to useful online resources and empowers the public to be able to obtain this information without being dependent upon county staff. The combination of the county’s award-winning Web site and the subscription-only, password-protected, online portal for court records is a prudent effort to provide public information while guarding personal data.

Consumers can protect themselves in a variety of ways. The Department of Cable Communications and Consumer Protection offers the following advice:

  • Do not give personal information about yourself over the phone, the Internet or by mail unless you initiated the contact, or you are sure you know who you are dealing with. Also, be cautious about providing personal information on a cellular or cordless phone.

  • Do not put your address, telephone number or driver’s license number on a credit card sales receipt.

  • Remove your Social Security number from your driver’s license. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will provide another number for you; call 1-866-368-5463 for more information.

  • Do not carry your Social Security card, Social Security number, birth certificate or passport with you unless they are necessary. These documents should be placed in a secured location.

  • Check monthly credit card statements for charges you did not make and bank statements for transactions you do not recognize. Immediately report all discrepancies.

  • Get a copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus each year. Check your report for mistakes and immediately report any unauthorized information or accounts.

  • Shred financial or confidential information.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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For more news and information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news.
 

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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