This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Be Skeptical of ChoicePoint

Editor's Note: Jon D. Markman writes a weekly column for CNBC on MSN Money that is republished here on TheStreet.com. He's also a regular contributor to RealMoney, TheStreet.com's subscription site. If you'd like to see all of Jon Markman's RealMoney commentary, click here for information about a free trial.


Every few months, the author of this column answers questions from readers who implore, "Hey Modelman!"

Hey Modelman: What do you think of the ChoicePoint (CPS) scandal? Is the stock a buy now?

Modelman: ChoicePoint's business is to discover, acquire and maintain records on everyone so that they can be used to deny credit, employment, insurance or admission to myriad venues.

Since being spun off from Equifax (EFX) in 1997, its shares advanced tenfold on the wings of authorities' quest to categorize customers and citizens by creditworthiness. The idea is that in a nation built on debt, companies and governments need as much data as possible about individuals to build accurate actuarial tables aimed at predicting the potential payback. Fair enough.

But identity profiles are built on trust, and last month we learned that ChoicePoint violated its customers' confidence in a big way: The company was a victim of an absurdly easy-to-spot Nigeria-based identity scam that compromised 145,000 customer profiles.

Not long afterward, we learned that rival LexisNexis, a unit of the Anglo-Dutch data conglomerate Reed Elsevier (ENL), likewise placed more than 30,000 customer profiles in the hands of scamsters. And now we hear that Bank of America (BAC) has lost the details of 1.2 million government customers, probably to identity thieves.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,915.07 -70.54 -0.42%
S&P 500 1,964.68 -8.15 -0.41%
NASDAQ 4,396.2040 -22.83 -0.52%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs