Archive for the 'Identity Theft' Category

Identity Theft – Scams to Steal Your Personal Information

Identity TheftIdentity Theft – Scams to Steal Your Personal Information by Aazdak Alisimo
Give me convenience or give me death! With our increased reliance on the convenience of the web and plastic over cash, we have opened a pandora’s box in crime. In this case, Pandora is called identity theft.

The phrase identity theft generally means what it sounds like. It is the theft of a person’s identity by another for some profitable purpose. That being said, identity theft actually comes in a number of different forms.

Mention identity theft and most people think of stolen credit cards. This occurs, but is actually the end result of the theft. Credit card accounts are not the target of most criminals, social security numbers are.

With a social security number, an identity thief can take many financial steps. They can open multiple credit card accounts. They even apply for a loan once they establish a second address.

If you social security number is stolen, you may be shocked to learn where it turns up. Given the attitude towards illegal immigrants these days, many are trying to procure such numbers and identity theives are now selling them to them.

The reselling of social security numbers has nasty aspect to it. The income from the secondary person appears under your social security number with the IRS. Guess what happens when your tax return figures don’t match theirs? A tax audit!

Another area where your social security number can be misused is at the bank. The thief will open a bank account using the number. The thief then writes bad checks against the account until the bank closes it.

Owning the latest mobile phone seems to be a must these days. Signing up for such phone services is simple and indentity theives are famous for doing it. The people at those kiosks in the mall just don’t check very closely.

The horrific thing about identity theft is it occurs without the victim knowing it. The identity thief always uses an alternative address, so you have no way of discovering what is going on until it is much too late.

Sooner or later, you will figure out that you have been a victim of identity theft. It may be when collectors call or when your ATM card doesn’t work or when a credit card charge is rejected. Whatever the occasion, it will not be pleasant.

Identity theft is one of the more aggravating crimes out there. If it happens to you, expect to spend months trying to get the mess worked out. Businesses and the government are getting better at dealing with it, but it is still a nightmare.
Get more identity theft information at ArticlesonIdentityTheft.com.
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Spyware got your Computer Down?

Slow computer BugIs Spyware Slowing Your Computer Down? by gennew05

Everyday more and more computers are becoming infected with Spyware and Adware (advertising tracking). No matter where you go on the web, someone is trying to sneak something on your computer. From honest web sites placing simple logon cookies, to paid advertising tracking your movements on the web, to malicious software that is designed to record your keystrokes and discover your passwords, Spyware and Adware have together become the web’s number one problem.

Many of these programs are down right dangerous and seriously threaten your online privacy and identity. But even the simple and supposedly benign Adware programs can cause you serious problems.

Spyware is any program that installs itself onto your computer with the intent to spy on your activity. This can be recording your online searching habits, or whatever you type on your keyboard. Adware is not much better. It is designed to watch what you do online, where you go, which terms you search for and then report this to the ad agency that runs the adware program.

Adware programs may be designed with the best intentions in mind, but even these can cause your computer serious problems.

Here is what happens. Many, if not most, advertisers on the internet will try and place a cookie or other small program on your computer. Many will add code that will track that cookie as it hits different pages. The code may be designed simply to gather anonymous data, or it may be trying to send ads to your browser that the advertising company thinks you will be more likely to respond to.

Whatever the case, the Adware or Spyware is using your computer to do its tracking. This means that part of your computer’s power and CPU cycles are being diverted away from the activity you are trying to perform. Your computer is being used by someone else instead to track your movements. Now, when we multiply this behavior by tens or hundreds of Adware or Spyware programs all trying to use your computer for their work you can begin to see the problem.

These programs can literally slow your computer down to a crawl, or make it crash altogether. They can fill your computer up with trash files, open unwanted popup windows, use up the space in your internet cache and generally just make working on your computer a nightmare.

Luckily there are several easy solutions to the problem. But first let me make one distinction, Spyware and Adware are not the same thing as a computer virus. Although a computer virus can install spyware on a computer, you will need different tools to remove a computer virus and to keep your system clean from Spyware and Adware. You should be using both a high quality commercial anti-virus program and one or more good quality programs for handling the spyware/adware problem.

There are several good Spyware/adware programs on the market. I use two different programs on my network, Ad-aware from Lavasoft and Spy Sweeper from Webroot Software although there are several others. You can easily find both of these by doing an internet search for Ad-aware and Spy Sweeper. Or simply do a search for spyware. Both of these programs will scan your hard drives and registry and present you with a list of spyware/adware programs hiding on your system. You can then quarantine or remove the offending programs. I use both of these programs since neither one seems to catch everything. Plus I will run them 2 or more times in a row, the nastier spyware will not be completely removed on the first pass.

The process is very easy and I recommend running these programs at least once a week and every time you have been doing some extended web surfing. You will be surprised at how many of these spyware/adware programs will sneak onto your system. I run a very clean network and I have yet to scan my system and not come up with at least a few of these hiding on my hard drive.

So be aware of the problem, take reasonable precautions, scan your system frequently, and the spyware/adware curse can be broken.

Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips and hints, points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques, and insights pertaining to spyware, do please browse for more information at our websites.
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Top 10 Ways Thieves Steal Your Identity

Eye Scan

Identity theft is a serious problem. It can cost you hundreds of dollars, damage your credit, and even land you in jail. It helps to avoid these problems if you know how thieves try to steal your information.

Here are the top 10 ways a thief will try to find your identity:

1. Your wallet

The easiest way to steal your identity is to steal your wallet. It usually contains your drivers license and credit cards. Sometimes they may hit the jackpot and also get your social security card.

Never have your purse or wallet where it is easily accessible. One scheme that is increasing in popularity is to use an accomplice to distract a store clerk while the other team member goes behind the counter and grabs a purse. They are out the door and long gone before anything can be done to stop them. The distraction from seeing your purse taken out the door also gives the accomplice time to get away.

2. Your mailbox

It’s obvious that your outgoing mail be an easy source of personal information such as checking accounts and credit card information. Incoming mail can be a source of information as well. Stealing if from an unlocked mailbox is easy. If you have been expecting a bill or two that haven’t arrived on time, be suspicious. That information could already be in the hands of a thief.

3. Your glove compartment

An unlocked car is an invitation to a filing cabinet most people call a glove box. Even storing vehicle registration and insurance cards required for driving can be risky. But many people store many other papers there as well. Credit card receipts, gas cards, and other information should not be stored here. Keep your car locked at all times.

4. Your trash

“Dumpster diving” is an easy source of identity information. Many victims never gave a thought about the bills they threw out or the credit offers they discarded. Any papers that contain information thieves can use should be shredded before it goes in the trash. It’s easier for them to move on to the next trash bin than put all those tiny pieces of paper back together.

5. Skimming

Devices are available that can swipe credit cards and store their information. This is a particular problem in busy stores and restaurants where a credit card is given directly to a clerk to charge. Keep an eye on what happens to your card.

6. Phishing

Fraudulent email is frequently sent spoofing banks, PayPal, eBay, and other places you might have business dealings. They offer a link to click on that will take you to a login page for that business. Sometimes those landing pages are a very good imitation of the real thing. However, all they want is your login ID and password. This is be used to access your accounts. Instead of using their link, always go directly to your login page.

7. Change your address

Filing a change of address with the post office can divert your mail to someone trying to steal your information. This can consist of bank and credit card statements, utility bills, and other accounts. If your mail suddenly stops, investigate immediately.

8. Pretexting

Over the phone, unscrupulous individuals may pretend to be a business to convince you to give out personal information. Be particularly wary of someone asking you to confirm information such as your social security number.

9. Spyware

Unless you are careful, programs that monitor the use of your computer can be installed on your machine without your knowledge. If you have children, this is a particular problem. They may visit risky sites offering games and other downloadable programs. When installed, your computer can use the internet to transmit your private information such as your bank login and password.

10. Burglary

It used to be burglars broke into your home or business to find money and other valuables. Today, your identity can be much more valuable than the cash you keep in your home. Keep your personal information hidden or locked away for burglars cannot find it.

Break ins at places where you do business are another concern. When businesses are robbed, credit information is a valuable commodity that can be sold to other thieves. And sometimes businesses throw out old records containing your valuable information. This can be stolen by dumpster diving.

If you are aware of how identity thieves get your information, you can be prepared to protect yourself.

Let me know if you have any others I missed or stories of you or someone getting their identity stolen.

3 Defenses Against Identity Theft

As many as 10 million people have their identities stolen each year. In fact, there is a good chance you know someone who has had their identity stolen.Eye Scan

For the victim, it takes dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars to repair the damage done by identity thieves. They may lose job opportunities, be denied loans and face higher interest rates. They could even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.

The FTC has created a plan to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, minimize the risk, and minimize the damage if your identity is stolen. It is all about following the “3 D’s” of identity protection – Deter, Detect, Defend.

Deter

The best way to prevent the theft of your identity is to safeguard your information.

· Shred any personal information before you discard it. This should be financial statements, bills for utilities, and credit card offers. Anything with your personal information on it can make you vulnerable.

· Protect your social security number. Do not carry it with you. Your purse or wallet could be lost or stolen. Don’t write it on your checks. If you are asked for identification, try to use something else like a credit card and drivers license.

· Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails. They may show a valid web address but take you to a look-alike where they will try to obtain your personal information. Banks will always ask you to log in to your account but will never provide a link to it.

· Don’t use obvious passwords like the last four digits of your social security number or your mother’s maiden name. It’s best to mix letters and numbers and avoid dictionary words.

· Keep your personal information in a safe place in your home. It should not be accessible to roommates, guests, those doing work for you, or burglars.

Detect

Routinely monitor your financial accounts and billing statements for suspicious activity. Request a free annual credit report from www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.

Be alert to:

· Bills or mail you are not expecting.

· Unexpected credit card or account statements.

· Calls or letters about purchases you didn’t make.

· Denial of credit for no obvious reason.

Defend

As soon as you suspect there may be a problem, place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review those reports carefully. This will tell creditors the procedures they need to follow before opening new accounts in your name.

Calling one credit reporting company will alert all of them of your initial 90-day fraud alert:

· Equifax: 800-525-6285

· Experian: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)

· TransUnion: 800-680-7289

You are entitled to free copies of your credit report if you place a fraud alert. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted and for accounts you can’t explain.

File a police report. This will help you support your claim when asked by creditors who want proof there was a crime.

Close accounts. Any accounts that are not yours or have been tampered with should be closed. Check with the fraud or security department of these companies. Follow up in writing. An ID Theft Affidavit can be obtained online from ftc.gov/idtheft. Get written verification that your accounts have been closed and the debts cleared.

File a complaint with the FTC. Your report can help law enforcement officials. Online, file at ftc.gov/idtheft or call 877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).

Idenity Theft

Idenity Theft (Identity)
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Amazingly enough in this world of security fanatics we can’t stop one of the worst crimes ever to hit the nation. Idenity theft is one of the worst crimes for the individual victimized and the businesses compromised. It has taken over the nation and compromised our way of living long enough. I think more needs to be done to secure up peoples lives and credit history for this US nation to progress.

Idenity theft happens in many ways. The most common is for a thief to steel your wallet or purse.

If you are keeping too much information in your wallet then you may never get your identity back totally. It might be sold to a hundred people that use it whenever they get a chance. Common things that should not be in your wallet are: Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Tax and Financial information, and Credit Card Pins. Do not keep these in your possession unless you have to. They contain information that a thief can use to obtain fraudulent credit, drivers licenses, and even a Social Security Card in your name. They can then walk into your bank with the false ID and empty your bank account, write checks, and even take out a loan on your house. They will walk away with your money and will leave you with the bill and your credit rating in destruction.

The best thing to do is not to put yourself at risk for thieves. Don’t take ID that you don’t need. Shred unneeded documents that contain your Social Security number, Birth dates, Mother’s Maiden name, and other financial info. Make it hard for a thief to steel your idenity and they will look for someone else who will be an easier target. In this world a little bit of paranoia is essential. Ask why people need information about you. Only give information that is required for applications. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run because you will not have to hunt down a person that posses as you messing up your credit wherever they can.

My wife and I have had several letters from companies lately that have been hacked and computers stolen with our information possibly compromised. It can happen to anyone so check your credit report often and make sure all the accounts are valid and current. Here is a link to the website to check your credit report once a year for free. There are other websites that charge for this free service so here is a link to the real one.

Enjoy and let me know what you think with a post or email.

Watch Idenity Theft Video.

More info on Idenity Theft and F.T.C. link.