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Data breaches often involve credit card numbers, personal bank account numbers and personal health information.  According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, over 500 million consumer records have been breached since 2005.  The most recent total, published August 24, 2010, is a red-alert for all consumer who may become the victim of an identity  thief. 

While some victims of data breaches receive breach notifications, most do not.  Some states, like Alabama, do not require companies to notify consumers after a data breach.  On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of states and US territories have enacted breach notification laws which require corporate America to notify consumers of a data breach.  As a result, undoubtedly, the number of consumers affected by the some 500 million records lost severely under estimates the numbers of consumer affected by identity theft.