August 31, 2005 11:00 ET

Citizens Can Avoid Identity Confusion by Routinely Checking Their Public Dossiers

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 31, 2005 -- -- Identity confusion can cost its victims access to insurance, mortgages, leases on apartments, or even job offers. When names are similar, background checks can fail to distinguish the criminal's record from the law-abiding citizen's. Consumers must check their public records regularly to catch the mistake before it happens.

"Imagine losing a job offer because some public official sees a criminal's dossier and thinks it's yours because the names are similar," said Robert Siciliano, a nationally televised identity theft and personal security expert. "This is why it is so important for a citizen to check her public dossier on a regular basis."

Siciliano and Arlington, VA-based MyPublicInfo provide the tool to do so: the Public Information Profile (PIP). Citizens can obtain a PIP by going to Siciliano's Web site,, and clicking on the "MyPublicInfo" logo.

The PIP helps in two main ways. Anyone who obtains one can view public records connected to his name and see information accessible to other people performing background checks.

"You pay your bills on time and take pride in being a law-abiding citizen," Siciliano added. "Then, some dreg of society comes along and ruins it all. Whether it's identity theft or mistaken identity, a citizen in these instances is essentially burdened with being guilty and having to prove innocence."

Siciliano is author of "The Safety Minute: 01" and an upcoming book, "Identity Theft Pandemic: Curing the Identity Theft Virus." He appeared on CNBC's "The Closing Bell" shortly after high-profile data breaches highlighted the problem of identity theft earlier this year.

A recent article in The Reidsville Review chronicled the travails of a woman with multiple last names from previous marriages. To rent a new apartment, she needed a background check. Officials ended up confusing her, a law-abiding citizen, with another woman whose similar name pulled up a public record detailing a penchant for writing bad checks. The embarrassing and reputation damaging mix-up took many hours to resolve.

"Identity confusion is just one of the problems the PIP helps to combat," said Dr. Harold Kraft, CEO of MyPublicInfo. "The PIP also enables citizens to be proactive in catching criminal activity committed in their names. It is time-consuming to rectify even the honest mistakes that public officials are bound to make."

MyPublicInfo's PIP gives consumers unique and unparalleled access to their public records. It is the first tool to provide consumers with user-friendly, complete, and legally conforming personal profiles of aggregated public information.

Wilmington, NC's "WECT News 6" reported the plight of a North Carolina man, Kevin Horn. His public record showed the criminal history of his high school classmate, who has used Horn's identity as a cover for the past 10 years. According to the report, it has been challenging for Horn to get jobs and insurance.

"Citizens need to start thinking about identity upkeep," said Siciliano. "The price of inaction can be a real-life nightmare. Keep tabs on your public records. Watch your credit reports. Expect the worst and check for evidence of it regularly. Only then do you stand a real chance of avoiding misfortune."

Siciliano provides consumer education solutions to Fortune 500 companies and their clients. He has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, "ABC News with Sam Donaldson," "The Montel Williams Show," "Maury Povich," "Sally Jesse Raphael" and "The Howard Stern Show." Siciliano also leads personal safety and security seminars nationwide.

Siciliano can be reached at 1 (888) SICILIANO (742-4542). The URL leads to his Web site. His blog is at

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