Sunday, 29 March 2009

Identity Theft

For years, the old-fashioned technique of stealing wallets from people's pockets was the major cause of ID theft, but that has now become an outdated technique.. Nowadays, more complex methods are used to gain access to a person's personal data which is then used unscrupulously to commit crimes such as fraud. An identity thief may steal your personal data by gaining access to your computer and from there to your records from your employer let's say or even bribing an employee who can make your records available to him. Dishonest employees can obtain social security numbers or other data in the workplace by having access to personal files, or by hacking into a bank's database. In a recent case, a dishonest employee had unlimited access to a storage room where past payroll info was filed. She obtained the social security numbers of over 100 current and former employess and used them to obtain credit in her name.
Stealing your bank statements from your mailbox is "Mail Theft", and going through your litter bin for bank statements is called "Dumpster Diving" - not to mention phishing - the creation of a fake website resembling a real one and asking for personal data.
Since I was a victim of identity theft on the Internet, I have decided to take some measures against hackers:
1. I have installed a stronger firewall
2. I have safely encrypted all my personal data, bank statements and credit cards.
3. I created a complicated password to have access to my computer which I stored in my head.
4. I use a hide-my-ip software programme whenever I visit crowded websites or social forums.
Have you ever been victims of identity theft online? How do you protect your personal data?

10 comments:

Sophia said...

I suppose I was lucky and never been victim of identity theft. Of course I protect myself online. I have a good firewall and spyware program and I avoid visiting large forums or unsigned websites. All I want is have a few good friends here that I can really trust. Its not quantity, its quality that matters to me.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you Constantinos for this warning! I've just checked my e-mail and one of them wanted my e-mail password among other things because I couldn't receive or send e-mails. This was not true and even if it were true, I could always directly ring my provider. So I deleted the message.
Thanks for your support for Earth Hour! Mm candle light dinner!!!

christina-1977 said...

My credit card was stolen on the internet a couple of years ago. When I received the bank statement I almost fainted! Fortunately there wasn't a lot of money available . Since then I've been using an internet card - much safer. Apart from the usual stuff - firewall, anit-virus, spyware - I never give my personal data or any passwords online.

6p01156e84bfae970c said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Laura said...

My dear Constantinos, thank you for deleting my comment. I tried to use my new open id but it didn't work. Also thank you for sharing the website on online behaviour.It's very useful for everyone. With such developments,it comes as a surprise that the UK and other European countries have decided to issue national identity cards.The major reasons for this are to stop illegal immigration and to offer more protection from acts of terrorism. However, the cards carry such a staggering amount of information that they will not only erode the individual's right to privacy, but should this information get into the hands of hackers, the individual will lose himself!

Constantinos said...

* Sophia, the good thing is that technology provides a wide range of online protection for unlimited Internet surfing.

* Reader Wil, the same thing happened to me as well not long ago when I had a problem with my email, so, like you, I contacted my provider and ignored the email.

* That's the right thing to do , Christina. The internet card might be less convenient but it's much safer.

* You are very welcome , Laura, no problem. I agree with you about the national IDs. It's up to the governments to take some measures so that the individual is safe. By the way, did you know that the worst and fastest growing form of ID crime is taking on the identity of people who have died? When the names of the tsunami victims in 2005 were displayed on TV and the Internet, it was the ideal opportunity for this type of crime to spread.

M ary "Lizzie" Hill said...

Surprise. I had an account with Google/Blogger and didn't know it. You know, I have only one credit card that I use mostly for online, occasionally for entertainment. But, it has a $500 limit so anyone who steals my identity won't get much because I have only a few dollars in savings, and my checking account is usually pretty tapped out by the end of the month. I'm not saying I couldn't be a victim, but I have theft identity protection, so I have peace of mind. Thanks for the heads-up

Anastasia said...

My Yahoo account was hacked a couple of years ago. I had then 2 credit cards in yahoo wallet. The good thing is that the hackers only wanted to have access to my 360 account in order to remove a post. Indeed, the post was removed but, I guess I was lucky. They were good hackers! They didn't steal my credit cards! Ironically enough, I recovered my account thanks to the credit cards ! A couple of months ago, I got an alert from my bank. They wanted to make sure I had purchased some heavy metal mp3 from a site I wouldn't like to mention as I don't think it's fair for the site. It was a sum of $86 I told my bank that I had never purchased those songs and they never granted access to the hackers.

Constantinos said...

**Lizzie, it is indeed a lovely surprise to see you on my new page. I do most of my transactions online as this saves time, like payments of bills etc, so I need to have my credit card updated. I only use it for paying bills or sending money to my daughter in England. When my identity was stolen I had the Norton Internet Security installed but it didn't seem to be much of a problem to the hackers.

** Anastasia, you were lucky the people from your bank got suspicious. I suppose they know you and should have been very surprised to see that you had bought heavy metal mp3s!

Stefania said...

I have never been a victim of identity theft, however we all know the serious problems this can cause. At the bank where I work we have a very secure system and so far none of our customers has complained. I have also installed a similar system at home as both my husband and I use ebank all the time. Now almost all credit cards require a personal pin code which makes them much more secure than before.