Thursday, April 17, 2008

Identity theft

This section usually would usually have an article or something relating to singles/dating, but I am going to discuss an unrelated serious topic, Identity theft.

A gal I am friendly with recently had her identify stolen by a Nigerian fraud ring and is going through he** trying to get her name back. Apparently her computer was hacked and a fraudster was able to take control remotely. Some type of virius was downloaded without her knowledge and a keystroke recorder was installed. The fraudster got hold of her id and passwords for her bank accounts online and other personal information. So now, she is trying to get her name back.

So what are some things you can do to protect yourself?

  • Anti-Virus protection: Seems pretty obvious, but some of you reading this right now do not have any type of anti-virus protection. GET SOME

  • Passwords: Dont use your Social Security Number or make all of your passwords the same for different services.

  • Using your credit card online: Make sure the site you are checking out from has a little lock in the right hand corner. This will indicate that you are checking out through a secure server. Some sites do not have the lock, but you can tell that you are checking out through a secure server because the http turns to https (look at your internet browser line).

  • Get an identity protection service. I personally use LifeLock (see link above), but there are many other services out there all that cost about the same, (about $10 a month). Basically they set alerts on your credit file with the major bureaus and you are notified if any type of new account attempt is opened. It can also be a pain in the ass sometimes, but the tradeoff is worth it.

    The building I live in recently became wired for Verizon Fios, so I called to set up an account. They took all my vitals including my social security number (they run your credit before issuing you an account) and I set up an installation appointment for a few days later. The next day I got a call from Verizon who said they could not process my order because there was a flag on my account and in order to get the service, I had to fax over two forms of identity. I never got around to sending in the proof of identity, so my order was cancelled. I will get around to it again eventually , and although having to jump through an additional hoop is a pain, it is worth it.

If you do decide to use LifeLock, either click the banner above or use the discount code FaceToFace and you will save 10% on the listed rates.

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