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Online records training being offered in Jefferson County

November 17, 2008|By DAVE MCMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- While a new Jefferson County computerized record search program is still being worked on to remove Social Security numbers from the records, training on how to use the system will be offered to the public this week, Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan said Monday.

On Oct. 24, Maghan's office unveiled a computer record search program that allowed the public to view records such as property deeds, judgments and tax liens online.

The service was taken down five days later after Maghan discovered people's Social Security numbers were on some of the records.

Maghan said at the time that a computer software program would be run on the service to redact or remove Social Security numbers.

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Maghan said Monday the software is still scanning the 1.4 million documents involved and said about four years worth of documents have been scanned. Maghan said she thinks it will be early next year before the scanning is completed and the service is available again.

Meanwhile, Maghan's office is scheduled to begin offering training this week to the public on how to use the search program.

"There's a lot of bells and whistles," Maghan said.

Training was scheduled to begin Monday between 5 and 8 p.m. in the Jefferson County Commission meeting room in the Jefferson County Courthouse and it was scheduled to continue today and Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the meeting room.

Although anyone can attend the training, it is expected that attorneys will want to learn the system to make tasks such as deed work simpler, Maghan said.

When the problem with exposed Social Security numbers occurred, opinions differed about how much of a security threat was posed to the public.

While a spokesman for a computer company that worked on the online records search said more than a Social Security number is needed to steal someone's identity, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau said a person's Social Security number is one of the worst things to be compromised.

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