Service asks you to give up your SS and credit card numbers ... for safety’s sake?

So what would you say if I asked you to input your social security and credit card numbers into this handy-dandy search box on my Web site and then I'll go scan the Internet to make sure that your personal info hasn't already fallen into the hands of identity thieves?

You say you'd sooner set your hair on fire and let me put it out with an ice pick?

Seems to me that might be a fairly common reaction to a new service – StolenID Search -- unveiled last night by TrustedID, which bills itself as "America's Identity Theft Protection Company."

But we are not talking about some fly-by-night operation here: TrustedID is funded by venture capital heavyweights Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which means that somebody is betting serious money on the general public's willingness to suspend suspicion and use this type of service. (Or at least enough of them to make the effort worthwhile, since the pitch for StolenIP Search is tied directly to drumming up customers for TrustedID's $90-a-year IDFreeze service.)

Of course the techie forums are already going bonkers over the notion that anyone would be foolish enough to trust a third party's Web form with this type of information, but TrustedID is obviously banking on the belief that techie forums do not accurately represent the mindset of Joe and Josephine Six-Pack. The Six-Packs are scared silly about identity theft these days – rightfully so – and may well be hungry for the type of help TrustedID is selling – even if it means trusting someone online.

Me? I'd love to tell you how StolenID Search worked on my own social security and credit card numbers, but, well … you go first. The TrustedID FAQ attempts to be reassuring. A few samples from that FAQ:

Isn't inputting my info only increasing my risk of being a victim?

StolenID Search is anonymous. Individuals only enter credit card numbers and social security numbers. Even under the worst case scenarios, divulging this information alone is highly unlikely to lead to risk of identity theft.

In order for thieves to use a credit card number they must also have some of the following information: billing address, date of expiration, CVV2. In the case of social security numbers, fraud is only possible when that number is associated with a combination of the following information: name, address and date of birth.

TrustedID never asks any user of StolenID Search for any personal identifying information such as name, address or billing information.

Is the site secure?

Yes. TrustedID's highest priority is data security and consumer protection. Our StolenID Search service provides a valuable service that helps you prevent identity theft without compromising your data in any way. All compromised information is protected in an encrypted format using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology.

TrustedID's privacy policy is approved by TRUSTe. More Information.

VeriSign, an independent security company, verifies the authenticity of each page that is delivered from TrustedID's Internet servers.

Let's say I agree to play, what good will the search results do me?

Currently, StolenID Search does not offer a way for consumers to see where their information was found. However, we plan to include this information in our future version of StolenID Search.

How long before the phishers have sites set up mimicking StolenID Search?

In all seriousness, I could very well manage to get comfortable with the idea of running my numbers through Stolen ID Search, but right now TrustedID doesn't seem to be offering enough value in return for that leap of faith. When the service becomes more than a marketing engine for the company's paid service, perhaps we can talk.

In the meantime, get away from me with that ice pick.

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