How Do I Protect My Identity?

Is ID Theft User Error?

Each day provides us with reports of individuals and companies whose computer systems have been penetrated by cyber criminals and become victims of Identify Theft. Cyber Crime is not new. It has been occurring since the Internet became a worldwide tool for sharing information, but the faces and tactics of cyber criminals have evolved with the times forcing the evolution of AntiCyberCrime tools.

Cyber criminals are no longer satisfied with infecting and destroying data to prove vulnerabilities within operating system giants like Microsoft and Oracle. They are now after valuable data. Your data. They are looking for data that you consider private and personal and should guard by using tools made for AntiCyberCrime. This includes but is certainly not limited to your Social Security number, driver’s license number, credit card numbers and of course bank account numbers. All of these and more give Cyber Criminals the ability to live off your name and your income.

These numbers are required for many of our transactions including the doctor offices, employment records, school campuses, banking, insurance and a host of other services that we receive. These numbers are harvested and sold to individuals, so that criminals can obtain employment, medical services and government benefits. All things you pay for. In addition, mass accumulations of credit cards numbers are pirated just to be sold to individuals who create automated tools to validate PIN numbers and expiration dates giving them the ability to charge multiple accounts.

Some of the crimes are sophisticated and only charge a few dollars per month to cards of unsuspecting individuals. These criminals count on the fact that the charge is too small for you to notice or care about spending your time recovering the $10.00 that they stole from you. What you may not know is that they not only stole from you but they stole $10.00 from thousands or even hundreds of thousands of individuals and are actually making significant amounts from small charges. In addition, they still have your credit card number and still have the ability to charge it over and over.

Other criminals are more direct and attempt to open up accounts using your identity. Common accounts are cell phone services, utility services and bank accounts. These thieves gain access to information you consider private and use it for their own purposes despite efforts of AntiCyberCrime deterrents. Most of the time victims are unsuspecting and innocent individuals, but Todd Davis, the CEO of LifeLock, a company that “Guaranteed” its customer base security for their personal data by use of their services, has posted his social security number on bill boards, television ads and on websites. However, he has now found that publishing your Social Security Number and telling the world that it is safe to do so is a different kind of guarantee; the guarantee that people will steal your identity.

According to public records, including articles posted on www.Wired.com , Todd Davis has had his identity stolen at least 13 times. These crimes not only hurt the individual that has their identity stolen, but they also damage the companies where accounts are opened and services are used that will not be paid for. Mr. Davis’ attackers cost companies like ATT and Credit companies thousands of dollars in unpaid goods and services.

So what can you do to protect yourself from Identity Theft? Well, I suggest that you use several lines of defense. First, be smart about your data and where and how it is stored and don’t publish it. Make sure that you do business with reputable companies and find out how they will store your data. Use AntiCyberCrime computer tools such as Antivirus suites with spyware programs that will automatically update and can be set to automatically scan your system regularly for threats. And make sure that your operating system and system files such as Microsoft and Java are up to date to avoid threats coming from manufacturers codes. Don’t assume that because you use a MAC that you are safe. Cyber Crime is constantly changing and evolving. Don’t let your guard down.

Follow Kyla Cottle as she takes a look at products, services and industry trends within the Internet Security arena, with a focus on helping individuals and small businesses explore opportunities for success.

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Article Source: ABC Article Directory

About The Author:
Kyla Cottle has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and has worked in the computer science industry for over 10 years.