By Producer
NBC News Investigative Unit
updated 2/5/2007 6:22:05 PM ET 2007-02-05T23:22:05

Public records showing Social Security numbers and other personal information belonging to ordinary citizens and well-known celebrities, including Donald Trump and Joe Namath, have been removed from a New York state Web site featured in recent NBC News reports on identity theft.

The NBC Nightly News and TODAY show reports focused on state and county government Web sites that unwittingly post personal information used by identity thieves to create fake IDs, open credit accounts and forge checks. New York, Florida, and Missouri were among the government Web sites featured in the NBC report.

New York Department of State spokesman Larry Sombke said the decision to remove commercial loan documents from the state Web site “was based on a number of factors, including reports in the press.” 

The documents were posted on the New York site as a convenience to lenders looking to learn more about the financial status of potential borrowers.

Sombke said the state is “investigating a number of solutions” that it hopes will address the right of personal privacy and the right to view public records.

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