Archive for the ‘Identity Theft’ Category
Learning how to protect yourself when working and shopping online will lessen your chances of becoming a victim of online identity theft.
Online identity theft affects your finances if hackers drain your bank accounts or charge amounts on your credit card.
In addition to the financial losses, dealing with identity theft requires much time and effort on your part to prove that you did not authorize the transactions and to start the process to get your money returned.
Hackers obtain your information in several ways. One of the most popular is phishing. Phishers send out emails that look like those you receive from banks and credit card companies.
These fake emails trick people into revealing passwords and other personal information.
Consumers who do not bother to install firewalls on their computers are particularly at risk from hackers. Without a firewall, a hacker can access your computer from a remote location and retrieve your stored password and account information.
With that information, the hacker can easily use your credit cards and arrange for bank transfers.
Some people believe they cannot be victims of online identity theft if they don’t shop or pay bills online. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, you can still become a victim.
If you provide any information to any company, it will be entered into the company’s computer system. These systems can be hacked, compromising your personal information. Read the rest of this entry »
Identity theft occurs when sensitive information such as credit-card, bank-account and Social Security numbers and other personal details is stolen and used to conduct transactions or impersonate the victim.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.” A Congressional Research Service report in January stated that incidents of identity theft in 2008 were up 22 percent over the previous year.
Privacy Matters warns that although most cases of identity theft occur through “traditional” means such as stolen mail or wallets, in 11.6 percent of fraud cases the information is collected online.
Identity thieves can gather a victim’s personal information online through improperly secured shopping or auction sites, Web-based payment services, computer viruses and “phishing,” the act of impersonating a financial, educational or commercial entity to collect sensitive data through fake e-mails and websites. Read the rest of this entry »
“Identity theft” is the term that describes the illicit discovery, theft or misuse of data that uniquely identifies a person, and links that person to financial or social resources.
Identity theft has been described as an “epidemic,” and the widespread use of computer systems that can hold the data of thousands of people has proliferated the opportunities for such theft. Citizens and law enforcement will remain locked in a move-countermove match with identity thieves for the foreseeable future.
The Goal of Identity Theft
An identity thief can seek any piece of information that allows him to impersonate an individual for purposes of financial gain or criminal activity. Identity thieves may seek a one-time transaction (like filling up gas on a fraudulent credit card), or can impersonate a theft victim for years, conducting long-term real estate or other transactions under someone else’s name.
Type of Data that Is Useful to an Identity Thief
Any information that can be used to link a specific person to a financial resource is potentially advantageous. Credit card and bank account numbers and PINs, social security numbers (SSNs), passwords, addresses and phone numbers are all pieces of data that can be exploited by an intelligent criminal.
Most identity thieves focus on getting the most information, in the shortest time, that can generate a good balance of high financial gain and a low risk of being caught. This is why credit card numbers have been such a common target of theft. Read the rest of this entry »
Identity theft is one of the most prevalent crimes of the 21st century. According to a 2007 study by the Federal Trade Commission, 8.3 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2005, nearly 4 percent of the population. Don’t let yourself become a statistic. Take appropriate measures to prevent identity theft to you and your family.
Shred Old Files and Mail
Many cases of identity theft surface through “dumpster diving.” Thieves raid trashcans of potential victims, on the lookout for sensitive information such as account numbers and Social Security numbers. Shredding important documents before disposal will render them impossible to read.
Don’t Carry Your Social Security Card
A stolen wallet or purse is all it takes for an identity thief to find you Social Security number. Protect yourself by keeping your Social Security card in a secure location, such as a household safe or a safety deposit box.
Don’t Include Your Social Security Number on Your Driver’s License
Many states have options that let you include your Social Security number on your state-issued driver’s license. Why anyone would want to do this is baffling; it opens the door wide for identity theft.
Be Careful Online
The modern identity thief can easily access information transmitted over the Internet on a server that is not secure. When shopping online, make sure the order form you are filling out is located on a security-encrypted page. Look for the protocol “https” in place of “http.” Read the rest of this entry »
In this age of information, new types of crimes are developing. Identity theft is the most frequently committed white collar crime in the United States today.
Identity theft is defined as fraudulent acquisition of money, credit, goods, or services by pretending to be someone else. According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in six American citizens can expect to be victims of identity theft this year alone.
Identity thieves obtain their victims’ personal information in various ways. They may steal mail from your mailbox or garbage can, look over your shoulder at the ATM machine, or steal information from your computer in a number off ways.
Other thieves may use a technique called phishing, in which they send you fraudulent e-mails, requesting personal information. Another popular technique is offering a fake employment opportunity. In this case, the application you fill out for this “job” is actually all the personal information a thief needs to steal your identity.
In the last year, almost ten million Americans were the victims of some type of identity theft (up from just over eight million the previous year.) Their losses totaled more than fifty-two million dollars, according to recent data released by the FBI.
Thirty-eight percent find out within the first three months, which enables them to resolve the problem in a reasonable amount of time; however, up to eighteen percent don’t find out for four years or longer. Clearly, this makes the resolution process much more complicated and lengthy. Read the rest of this entry »