Next time you hack into a commercial enterprise’s database, with a view to stealing credit card information, steer clear of those records belonging to state prosecutors.
ID theft targets seem to be getting a clue. How could they not? Every financial institution is putting warnings on their websites about scams, and how to determine and protect against them. Getting the word out always works.
It seems, however, that the well-to-do aren’t doing online banking or brokerage, or just don’t listen like the minions. ID thieves are finding fewer victims, but are getting better rakes from the ones they do hit.
NewsFactor has a laundry list of action items to protect against online ID theft. I’d say you can read the subheader and get the gist:
Ultimately, while technology can help protect you, the fight against identity theft must be fought with common sense, informed caution, and a solid understanding of what you are up against.
For those with no common sense, you can: avoid clicks on strange email links, use Firefox, buy lots of anti-virus and anti-spyware software, periodically get your credit report, etc.
The word out of the California AG’s Office is to be wary of phishing emails, as your identity may be stolen as a result.
So, what should the everyday citizens of California do about the stolen laptops full of their data, the banks losing the stuff off the backs of UPS trucks, or the data brokers who willingly give it to scammers?
Don’t ask me.
Identity theft is being called easy and lucrative. Organized crime is naturally getting in on the game – if hackers and script kiddies can do it, why can’t they. They supposedly control the garbage pickup business, so why not – sift through the stuff for credit card statements at a secure location, eh?
Then again, maybe they are employing computerized means – they made the latest tech agenda setters list, for goodness sakes.
Privacy advocates don’t like personal data warehouse businesses (like credit reporting agencies) to begin with. I believe that if it was up to them, there would be no data, and of course our consumer spending-based economy would grind to a halt. But the companies in question have fallen victim to a lot of data theft as of late (think Choicepoint, Bank of America), and the hows and whens of notifying the end consumer who is the subject of all that data is rearing its ugly head again.
I think quick notification must be the protocol, but I do not think that we need consumers running around suing companies for their ID theft – the two just don’t fit together. The average consumer barely knows what data is actually gathered on them to begin with. If you notify them of a breach, they are going to start suing for ridiculous sums, even if no damage is done. And, as things go with lawsuits, the only ones who stand to benefit are the attorneys in the middle.
Let legislate this issue straight, with some simple, common sense protocols which put the onus of notification and reparation on the data reporting agency, but not lock them down so far that consumer data can’t flow easily enough for me to get that Mercedes lease (not).
Many assume that identity theft (or whatever you would like to call it) is solely a product of our burgeoning internet use. While living in the information age has its pitfalls, we have seen by the recent burst of data theft cases that internet usage is often NOT the culprit.
Unfortunately, the least publicized piece of the ID theft story is what actually happens to that data once it goes astray. I think the public’s understanding of that point would lead them to keep a more watchful eye for suspicious activity. Fortunately, I dug something up for you.
The US Government is starting to put their foot down on the incidents of ID theft. Everyone is becoming aware of the fact that ID theft is not an isolated purvey of email phishers, so US regulators are asking financial institutions to develop appropriate notification measures (for their customers, that is).