The recent spate of thefts and lost records at banks and credit companies, which have rendered millions of consumers vulnerable to fraud and identity theft, is nothing new. From Inner City Press:

CitiFinancial on June 6 admitted that it has lost nearly four million consumers' files -- all customers of CitiFinancial's branch system. The files lost include Social Security numbers. While the company expressed shock and predicted that no harm will come of it, it's worth noting (as much of the other press didn't) that CitiFinancial has had this problem before. For example, in Florida in 2002, as reported by the local NBC TV affiliate there,
"[The Naples office of] Citifinancial even left its files in convenient boxes, making it easy for anyone who wanted to cart them away. NBC2 decided to find out what kinds of records were there.

"What was found surprised even seasoned investigators: drivers license information, credit reports, social security numbers, even bank account numbers - for more than 1,000 people. 'This would be a treasure trove of information for an identity thief. People's names, social security numbers, banking information,' said David White of the Collier County Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit. White said there was enough personal information in the company's trash for an identity thief to bankrupt anyone. He said a thief could easily take over someone's bank accounts with the data contained in the trashed documents..."

Click here to see the original story from the NBC affiliate in Fort Myers, Fla.

(Thanks to Mike Hudson.)