Bill Gates Joins Ranks of 'Doxed' Notables
Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates in the early 1990s.
The bad boys behind the "doxing" of American notables added only four names in their latest website update, but one of them is a big one: Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.
The other three additions to the list of people who've had sensitive documents exposed this week were singer R. Kelly, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and disgraced former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky is serving a 30-to-60 year prison sentence after being found guilty last year of molesting several boys.
As with the previous 23 politicians and celebrities "doxed" since Monday, all three men's Social Security numbers, dates of birth and current and recent addresses are listed on the Russian-domained website. Christie's and Kelly's recent telephone numbers are also listed.
A billionaire's line of credit
All four men's credit reports are also available for perusal. From them, we learn that Gates owes a collection agency $4,467, that Christie was late in making a couple of credit-card payments and that Sandusky's accounts are in good standing despite his incarceration.
Kelly seems to be in far worse shape, having hit some sort of financial trouble in 2010. Since then, he's had several million-dollar tax liens filed against him and has stopped making payments on a $3.5 million mortgage and a Chase Visa card. An auto loan was transferred after several missed payments.
For the world's second-richest man, worth $67 billion according to Forbes magazine's latest report, Gates has some down-to-earth financial habits.
He carries a Discover card, two Wells Fargo Mastercards, a Visa card also issued by Wells Fargo and two American Express cards. (It's possible that some of the cards are jointly held by Gates' wife, Melinda.)
Some of Gates' credit-card spending limits are in the low six figures, not unusual for high-net-worth individuals. One of Gates' American Express cards (which have no spending limits) had a high balance of $431,622 at one point, but it's since been paid off.
Gates' sole derogatory credit information is outstanding debt held by a Beltsville, Md., collection agency called Fair Collections & Outsourcing that specializes in handling past-due real-estate money. No further information on Gates' debt was available in his credit report.
All of this can be yours
It should be made clear that despite what other media outlets may say, none of this information was divulged through a "hack" or other database or network intrusion.
Addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for millions of individuals can be found online either by perusing public records or paying "people finder" services a reasonable fee.
After gathering such information on an individual, it's easy to request a free yearly report from any of the three major U.S. credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The three agencies confirmed to Bloomberg News Tuesday (March 12) that reports had recently been run on several of the exposed "high-profile individuals."
Unfortunately, such sensitive data is also exactly what an identity thief needs to start passing bad checks as say, Trey Gates, one of the aliases listed on William "Bill" Henry Gates III's credit report.
To avoid joining the doxed elite, guard your Social Security number jealously. No one who's not lending you money, paying you or involved in your taxes needs to know it.