Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security: Massive Data Breach Is One More Reason for Consumers to Take the Security of Their Identities Seriously

(BOSTON, Mass. – March 20, 2008 – A single breach announced this week at a major grocery chain in the Northeast U.S. placed 4.2 million unique data records at risk of fraud, a consequence that befell approximately 1,800 of them. News like this should prompt consumers to take the security of their identities seriously, according to a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano, who said industry safeguards seem inadequate to dissuade illegal activity.

“Massive data breaches have become par for course,” said Siciliano. “Not a month goes by without a failure of data security affecting hundreds of thousands who did nothing more than to pay for something with a credit or debit card. Consumers who don’t expect their financial data to fall prey to thieves are living in a different time and place. Despite progress in the robustness of industry-wide security standards for retailers, many individual stores and firms flout them.”

CEO of and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. An experienced identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” on FOX News, and elsewhere.

According to a March 17th report from the Associate Press, a data breach at Hannaford Bros., a grocery chain that operates 165 stores in the Northeast, released 4.2 million credit and debit card numbers from the relative safety of the firm’s databases. This later led to about 1,800 cases of fraud, revealed the chain, which first learned of the breach December 2007 breach in late February, the Associate Press found.

Readers may view the video below of Siciliano on “FOX News,” where he discusses the Hannaford breach and explains effective countermeasures for consumers.

Many breaches in retail, most notably the one affecting 45 million customers of TJX Companies Inc., have been the product of loose security practices; according to a March 18th report in The Boston Globe, however, at the time of the December breach Hannaford was meeting “industry standards regarding how customer data is stored and maintained.” The same Boston Globe report noted that some question the wisdom of Visa and Master Card system rules that place the cost burden for such breaches on financial institutions.

“The current security standards for retailers are well-intentioned and a great place to start, but also need major bolstering,” said Siciliano. “In the meantime, consumers need to consider paying in cash whenever possible. When that isn’t an option, the use of credit cards is preferable to the use of debit cards, which draw money directly from their own bank accounts and thus heighten a person’s risk for irrevocable financial loss.”

Additional YouTube video below shows Siciliano on another “FOX News” segment, where he explains how the ubiquity of Social Security numbers as universal identifiers helps thieves online and off-line. Those wishing to learn how to protect themselves against identity theft may view video of Siciliano at VideoJug.



Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.

A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.

Visit Siciliano’s Web site,; blog,; and YouTube page,

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
CEO of
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)

The media may also contact:

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557