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What Does Lexis Nexis Know About Me?

Lexis Nexis - The bottomless pit of user data
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC][Mod])

LexisNexis (which acquired ChoicePoint) is the largest data-broker in the world. They create vast profiles on people and use that information to create various reports that they sell to companies of all kinds. These reports are used to make decisions about renting, insurance and more. In the past these reports have been purchased by law enforcement and criminal organizations; all to find out more information about you.

It might be a good idea to find out what's in your report, but it turns out neither simple web searching or LexisNexis themselves do much for listing out all the types of data they know about you. Well here's the list of information they had (or could have had) from my personal LexisNexis dossier:

Auto/Property Insurance Records:

LexisNexis is tied into the "Current Carrier" insurance information system used by insurance companies and agencies when deciding to issue you a policy. Think of it like a "credit report for insurance".

This includes 7 years worth of:

  • Name of insurance company
  • Your policy number
  • Type of policy (auto, boat, fire, quake, tenant, home, etc).
  • Risk type (standard, preferred, facility, etc).
  • Policy start date
  • Policy termination date and reason for termination
  • Names of each subject found on the policy

For auto, this also includes:

  • Insured vehicle (including VIN, year, and make)
  • Type of vehicle
  • Coverage amounts

For property, this also includes:

  • Address of property
  • Eviction records

Personal information that may be included

  • Date of Birth (partially omitted; ex. like 06/##/1970)
  • Sex
  • Social Security Number (Minus the last four digits)
  • Driver's license number (partially omitted)

"C.L.U.E"® insurance loss information reports (apparently reports on whether you're a high risk person or not)

"Esteem" report

This report lists circumstances relating to theft while working at a retail company (admitted or convicted).

In my case, this was of course blank so I don't know specifically what data items would have been included. Most entertaining, there's a line in the report that reads "If you believe we should have information about you in our Esteem Database, let us know"…. Wow.

Background Investigation

If any company ever pays LexisNexis to perform a background check on you, LexisNexis will keep the information for future sales purposes. This may include your full date driving record and your personal credit file.

Screennow ® report

This report shows results of a national criminal records search.

Public Records

  • Professional licences held (Doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, barber, insurance agent, pilot, etc)
  • Address history
  • Deed transfer data
  • Aircraft registration
  • Loan information (where the loan was secured with collateral: i.e. a car)
  • Bankruptcies, liens, and judgements
  • Controlled substance license (in case you want to know who can legally get illegal drugs)
  • Business affiliations – When you're an officer or principal of an incorporated company
  • Significant shareholder records

Employment history

They claim they'll only have history of employers who previously asked LexisNexis to do a background check on you.

Does that make you uncomfortable?

Data brokers are just a business like any other, but as the credit report companies proved, buying and reselling data carelessly leads to disaster. Considering that these reports are FAR more detailed with a much wider variety of information, I can only imagine the consequences of allowing them to proceed as they have been.

Fortunately, you may not have to.

I was able to order my report using this webpage. I believe that doing so would be a good idea, but after that, make sure to also use their opt out procedures if you can.

It turns out that they'll only let your data go if you can prove that you're an identity theft victim or in imminent danger of bodily harm (police officer, public officials, etc). But it's easy to understand why they make it hard. After all, why would you set free one of your prize milk cows for no good reason?

In the end, I hope that strong regulation is introduced before we reach a problem like we did with identity theft.

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What’s in Your Data Profile?

Lexis Nexis - The bottomless pit of user data
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC][Mod])

LexisNexis and ChoicePoint are two of the largest data-brokers in the world. They’re only product is information about you which they buy and sell with little to no regulation of any kind. I have always wondered what kind of information they keep about us, and now I know. In the profile I ordered from them, I found not only several pieces of my personal information, but descriptions of other kinds of information that they collect. Here is a summary:

Information they Had

  • Full first, middle, and last name
  • Wife first, middle, and last name
  • Address history with dates and locations
  • Social Security Number
  • Full date of birth
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Vehicle VIN
  • Insurance history including companies, policy details, dates of coverage, accidents, claims filed, etc.

Information they Collect, but Didn’t Have For Me

  • Auto and property insurance history
  • Pre-employment background report including “personal credit information” and state driving record.
  • An Esteem® report which lists admitted or convicted cases of theft while visiting or working at a retail company (used by retailers for hiring).
  • A ScreenNow® report which displays a ChoicePoint national criminal records search of your name and personal information (used for hiring and volunteer work).
  • A Resident Data® history that includes personal credit information and a criminal record search (used for rental applications).
  • A Resident Data® eviction report used for resident screening.
  • FAA Aircraft Registrations
  • Uniform Commercial Code filings (when securing a loan with collateral).
  • Bankruptcies, Liens, and Judgments
  • Professional Licenses
  • Pilot Licenses
  • Marine Radio Licenses
  • Controlled Substance Licenses (for physicians, dentists, pharmacies).
  • Firearms and Explosives Licenses
  • Business Affiliations (for officers or principals of an incorporated Company).
  • Significant Shareholders Search Results – If your name and address appear at the top of a corporation record.

And the most exciting part of all of this is that you never asked to be part of their profiles, they just take it. Neat huh?

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Data Abuse

Data brokering is the practice of collecting as much data as possible about customers or visitors into profiles. Then the data is sold, shared, or lost in data breaches to be used in targeted marketing or ID Theft.

This page is part of my Goodbye Identity Theft course and is restricted to members.
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