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Internet Safety


Identity theft: Avoid Being Targeted

With a click of a mouse, an unscrupulous person can destroy any illusions you might have about the privacy of your personal information. Here is a Typical Tax Time Phishing Scam.

By simply entering a name and a city and state of residence into a Web site, a person is able to obtain a wealth of information about another person, including their addresses for the past 30 years, phone numbers, Social Security number and driver's license number, automobile information including vehicle identification number, license plate number and lien holder, property, mortgages, criminal record and bankruptcies. Identity theft is easy with all that information.

You could imagine that in the hands of the wrong person, this information could be used for a variety of despicable deeds. With all that information it would be a cinch to get a fake drivers license or credit cards in that persons name.

The thing that should be giving you nightmares is that similar information is available to anybody willing to spend about $6.

Criminals take that information and then they use it to steal your identity. Money or credit is usually what they are after. They will apply for credit cards under that assumed name and then they profit from it by obtaining the credit, the money, anything. That is identity theft. Identity theft is where a person takes personal identifying information from another.

The Internet is revolutionizing our world, and with its escalating role in our economy and society in general, criminals have more opportunities to steal peoples hard earned dollars and create trouble for anyone with a name and a Social Security number. Identity theft is a bigger threat now than ever before. It is the fastest growing crime nationwide. The good news is that you can now monitor your FICO® credit report.

It gets even worse. The newest thing, according to the FBI, is the crooks are taking the identities of children. They take that child's name and identifying information and obtain credit under that name with a different date of birth and then max out credit cards and things of that nature. The child's family doesn't even know about it until the first time that child applies for credit, usually for college loans. It's destroyed before the kid even gets started. They are unscrupulous Identity Thieves.

While many older citizens fear releasing their Social Security number, modern identity thieves don't need it to get started with their criminal activities. If they want the information they can get it.

The Internet is the No. 1 method of identity theft now. It used to be people stealing credit card applications and old bank statements out of trashcans and things like that, and that still does occur, but the fastest-growing method of identity theft is through the Internet.

While most of the sites where you can search for people on the Internet charge for their services, the fees are remarkably low. For about $5.50, you can get a name, a date of birth, relatives' names and dates of birth, Social Security numbers, address histories; You can get a persons mother's name and with that you can get the mother's maiden name. With somebody's mother's maiden name, you have everything you need to get a credit card. I'm not saying that it's easy for the average computer user to do this but it can be done. Scary!

Credit card companies vary their policies concerning Identity Theft and what is covered if it happens. Some are willing to forgive the charges if it's evident they are due to identity theft, others require that cardholders pay part of the charges and others are more sticky about forgiving fraudulent charges.
People need to keep a close eye on their credit card statements for suspicious looking charges. It is also recommended that everybody order his or her own credit report, at least once a year. That way, at least you know what is on there.

Another way to thwart identity theft is to take a proactive approach like the LifeLock Identity theft service.

Protect against Identity Theft with LifeLock. 10% off plus 30 Days Risk Free


LifeLock does not wait for identity theft to happen; the service prevents it from happening in the first place. Once you have enrolled in the LifeLock service, they automatically start monitoring your personal information for threats to your identity. If an attempt is made to exploit your identity, LifeLock immediately contacts you to correct the situation before anything happens to your reputation and identity. LifeLock also scours the known malicious sites on the Internet for your personal information to see if it is being used for fraudulent activity and alerts you of any bad intentions.  Find Discounts and See our review of the LifeLock Service.

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