PC Security

The great dangers presented by identity theft

Since identity theft is a tremendous growth industry, it is imperative that you should know how to protect yourself from having your identity stolen, because if someone steals your identity, the thief can sign up to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in your name and get you into trouble with the law for online theft or for accessing illegal websites.

The following article is written by Frank Abagnake, one of the most notorious forgers and impersonators in history. The movie Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo Di Caprio as Abagnake, is based on his notorious life of crime as a teenager. He is now a world-renowned consultant on security matters.

14 tips to avoid identity theft –

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/20030124b.asp

The information on that page is aimed at US citizens, but provides some good advice to anyone. Apparently, in the US, if someone knows a person’s social-security number, he or she can gain access to all of that person’s account numbers. Note well that gaining access to that kind of personal information is not possible in the UK if someone knows a person’s National Insurance number.

In 2002, Abagnale wrote a general, all-purpose book called The Art of the Steal. In the book, he lists and explains common confidence tricks and ways of preventing oneself from being defrauded. Identity theft and Internet scams are also covered. In 2004, he released a book called, Real U Identity Theft, in which he provides information on how to prevent identity theft in the first place. Both books are widely available.

Here is a useful quote from an interview with him: …” you have to alert consumers today, you have to be a very smart consumer. The police can’t protect you, the government can’t protect you, your bank can’t protect you, only you can protect yourself. So you have to ask yourself when you go on something like the Internet, what information am I putting out there, and how could someone use that information?

The crime of the future will be identity theft, and we’re already starting to see where people assume other people’s identity because they’re able to get bits and pieces of information about that individual, their bank account, their social security or health card number, and then assume that person’s identity. And that’s an awful crime, because in that crime, the criminal who’s committing the crime is innocent until they’re proven guilty, but the person who’s the victim is guilty until they prove themselves innocent. So they’re the ones that have to go out and convince the bank, the credit bureau, that they’re not the person who made those charges or got that mortgage.”

If you enter “frank abagnale” in a search engine, you will be presented with plenty of useful links to information on him and his books.

Page 3. – Tips on how best to remain secure online

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