Identity theft in many forms
is a growing motivation of many of the malicious attacks you will face
on the internet.
Phishing scams are probably
the most prolific types you will encounter. Most often you will
see phishing scams in your email inbox. Some of them are
easy to spot like the person in Nigeria that just inherited $20 million
dollars and is asking for your help to transfer the money.
Others are VERY well crafted. They may look like they came from
your bank, Pay Pal, your insurance agent, you name it. They
will be "alerting" you to a problem with your account and ask for your
attention. These scams have done everything from crafting
clone websites, to setting up 800 numbers to collect information.
If you encounter any unsolicited emails about business you deal with, do
not trust the email for contact information, look up phone numbers or
web site addresses outside of email. These thieves are becoming
very sophisticated, they are able to learn who you know and what you and
your friends, family, and business associates are interested in.
In the past year, 100's of
websites have been popping up and quickly disappearing that "sell"
greatly discounted products. Name brand software is the most
common of these. They claim to be selling a product though a much
less know, but legitimate sales channel the gets you the product at
pennies on the dollar. These sites are selling anything
except your credit card information. Everything on them is
fake. Spam is often the marketing method for these websites.
Once again another reason to be suspicious of any email.
Viruses and Trojans are
another vector used to steal information from you. Often
they come in the form a cute program that will entertain you or a
utility to make using or maintaining your computer easier.
They may sit silently on your computer waiting for you to log on to a
website or collect every keystroke you type and send it off to be
Protecting your identity is
one of the most proactive defenses you need to take. Your chances
of being a victim of identity theft is higher than being in a car
accident. Most of us wouldn't even consider going without
auto insurance, but almost no one carries identity theft insurance.
The reality is identity theft insurance only scratches the surface on
the precautions you should take to protect your identity.
ONCE THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG, AND YOUR
IDENTITY IS STOLEN, YOU COULD SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE FIGHTING IT.
to take to protect your identity:
Watch your credit report and other public records about yourself
for unusual activity.
you want to use online banking consider using a browser appliance
dedicated to this purpose.
Never purchase anything online unless you are absolutely sure the
computer you are using is 100% clean of malicious software.
(A clean report from your antivirus is
Always be suspicious of email no matter who it is from.
Never purchase anything online that has a too good to true price.
Keep your computer software up to date
at all times.
services are excellent tools for tracking public records about
yourself. False information here could be an indicator that
your identity is being used illegally and should be investigated.