Security Corner

Nov 20 2010   3:09PM GMT

Identity Exposure Index (iEi) Can Improve Over Time

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

In 2009 April, I introduced the concept of an Identity Exposure Index (iEi) in my post, What’s Your Identity Exposure Index? In 2009 May, in response to a reader’s coment, I posted Can Your iEi be Improved? I am happy to report that it is possible to improve your iEi.

When I first tried the method, my iEi was 2.8. Eighteen months later, doing what I recommended to my reader, my score is now 1.6-a significant drop. That’s a pretty good indicator to me that you do have some control. Here’s what I recommended:

I’ll give you the best solution I know, one that I’ve been using for some years now: If you are on line regularly, do everything you can to post and reveal the information that you *want* people to find. A blog is great for this. Using my blogs, over the past five years I’ve managed to push the junk well beyond the third page of most search engine results. I can live with that.

Here’s the actual sequence of searches to determine your iEi:

Use any top search engine. I used Google.

1. Search your name in the form you commonly use; e.g., Ken Harthun, not Kenny, Ken G. or other variants. Count the number of accurate hits on the first page.

2. Search your full legal name as it appears on your birth certificate. Count the number of accurate hits on the first page.

3. Search your mother’s married name, with and without her middle name and middle initial. If her maiden name shows up anywhere on the first page, count 10; if not, count 1.

4.  Search the last six digits of your Social Security number, including the dash. If your name shows up anywhere on the first page, count 10; if not, count 1.

5. Search your home phone number with area code. If your current address is shown, count 10; any former address, count 5; else, count 1.

Now, add all the scores. Maximum score is 50. Divide by 10 to get your iEi. It’s your choice whether or not to round off.

In another 2009 May post, ID Analytics Service Validates Identity Exposure Index, I mentioned the service provided by, a free public service that gives you a quick way to assess your risk of identity theft. Once again, that service validates my iEi test:

Here is your personal My ID Score calculated from the information you submitted:

Kenneth G Harthun
My ID Score: 224
Date: 11/20/2010
Report Code: [none of your business! ;-)]

A My ID Score of 224 indicates a LOW risk of identity fraud.

I just love it when I’m right! Nevertheless, I would have to recommend you use their method over mine; it’s easier, faster, and (probably) more accurate.

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