Crime: Psst, Secrets For Sale

Shady dealers are doing a brisk trade in IRS, FBI and other federal data

Most Americans assume that their Social Security records, along with other personal information filed with the Federal Government, are secure from prying eyes. Alas, such information is illicitly traded and available to almost anyone -- for a price. The extent of the black market in government data became apparent last month, when 18 individuals in 10 states were arraigned in federal courts -- participants in what may be the largest government-data theft ever uncovered. So far, the network includes Social Security employees, police officers, private eyes and so-called information brokers, and stretches from New York City and Tampa to Chicago and...

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