- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 10, 2006

Thieves are waiting to steal your identity. They want your name, your address and your Social Security number, and if you’re not careful they will take it.

“Credit-card scam artists salivate at the opportunity to take advantage of all the unprotected transactions that take place during the holiday season,” said Martin Bosworth a senior copywriter at MyPublicInfo Inc., an Arlington data security company.

Mr. Bosworth wants to make sure you know who’s using your identity, and what you can do about it.

At his new position at MyPublicInfo Inc., Mr. Bosworth wants “to help consumers become knowledgeable about what compiles their credit score.”

“There are databases out there that track your history as a renter, as a driver, your medical records, your financial records, your Social Security number and your credit card,” said Mr. Bosworth. “There are so many factors that thieves can use to manipulate credit scoring and your credit history.”

His primary role is to advertise and promote the products that will help the company’s 5 million subscribers keep a vigilant eye on their credit reports.

“We were looking for someone who could help us to become an expert in the identity management field,” said Pat Dane, chief operating officer of MyPublicInfo. “We hired Martin because of his expertise in writing.”

Mr. Bosworth has written hundreds of articles on the subject of protecting personal information for Web sites including consumeraffairs.com and publications as diverse as Men in Nursing magazine.

Mr. Bosworth became interested in identity protection when he discovered irregularities on his own credit report.

“I really don’t use credit that often — I mostly pay with cash — so I was surprised when I found all this stuff on my report that was incorrect,” he said.

Mr. Bosworth fought back. He researched credit scoring and how credit bureaus determine a person’s creditworthiness.

He built his audience as a blogger and a contributor to www.consumeraffairs.com, where he wrote about how to protect personal information.

Mr. Bosworth honed his expertise and became an adviser to large companies seeking security for their consumers.

A high point of his consulting career was when he was asked to advise managers at Choice Point Inc., an Alpharetta, Ga., provider of fraud-prevention services to the insurance industry.

“They were asking me what advice I could give them about how they could make their company better,” Mr. Bosworth said. “I told them that they needed to achieve transparency, accountability, and to connect with their consumers better.”

Most recently, Mr. Bosworth worked as a technical writer for the Policy Information Center of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“When it comes down to it, there is no 100 percent way to protect yourself from identity theft,” said Mr. Bosworth. But he urges consumers to be especially vigilant when they shop during the holiday season.

“Holiday shopping is a high-water mark for identity thieves to get their swerve on … so this is the kind of information that we need to get out there,” he said.

Mr. Bosworth has lived in Woodley Park since he graduated from Boston University in 1997.

— Bryce Baschuk

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