The Missouri Attorney General's Office has filed a lawsuit against a Texas-based data broker that contends the company sold the Social Security numbers of some Missouri residents.
The suit, filed in Jackson County, Mo. Circuit Court, seeks to shut down the site - PublicData.com - and fine its operators, according to a statement from Attorney General Jay Nixon.
"This website is a gold mine for identity thieves and needs to be shut down as soon as possible to protect the privacy of Missourians," Nixon said. "My office has already seen proof of how this site can be used to destroy the credit of innocent consumers in at least one prominent identity theft case."
Nixon's office learned about the website through an ongoing criminal case in Florida in which the defendant was charged with identity theft and larceny, Nixon said. The defendant confessed to obtaining victims' Social Security numbers through random searches for driver's license numbers on PublicData.com.
But PublicData.com, in a statement on its website, blamed the issue on the state of Missouri, which, it said, uses Social Security numbers as some driver's license numbers.
The site said it now plans to "prohibit Social Security numbers from being used or displayed on any Missouri driver's license searches."