Hello Again….Today I’m going to talk about Identity theft……….
Ok, then “Child Identity Theft” is on the rise…What do you think happens when kids are allowed to setup FaceBook Accounts, MySpace pages ? and or any other type of place…where your kids are allowed to put in lots of information on themselves or the rest of their friends or family. Even Hotmail has a large amount of information, you personally have to put in. That if the wrong person gets a hold of. Said person can potentially steal your child’s identity. Because the fact is more then likely, your child does not have a criminal past and can easily be blackmailed. They do not have debt like a credit cards, so it is a clean identity with no bags attached. Criminals tend to prefer this and it seem to be easier, almost like a gift because the lack of good passwords or hard to guess secret questions.
SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILD FOR IDENTITY THEFT
After you or your child signs-up for any type of accounts like FaceBook, MySpace or Hotmail It is highly recommended you strip your accounts. By taking out all the information other then you first name, you may in some cases have to keep your last name visible. But the reason for the account information stripping will come apparent. As I explain what can be done with each part of your information in easy to read steps…so here it go-
1. First and Last Name – Can be used in a Google search to find out your background information. Such as when you graduated from High School and the years you attended any type of schooling by just using sites such as Classmates.com and there is no way to block this I’ve tried. (Classmates.com is a huge spamming site, meaning it has a lot of junk information some of which are not even accurate and people don’t need to ask for your permission to add you to the database or you can accept with just one click of an active link in an e-mail)
2. Land Line Phone Number – Backward address look up can be done on any Internet based Phone Book. Anybody will be able to find exactly where you live..truly a scary thought done with a few clicks of the mouse. If you need to put a phone number. You should use a non-landline phone number, such as a cellphone number..this method works pretty well and most of the time the baddies can’t attach an address or even a name with said number.
3. Postal Code – Same but not as accurate. (Can be narrowed down to several block area)
4. Address – This is so easy, Same method used backwards look up to find phone number.
5. Bad Password/Or sensitive password that is similar to social insurance number or bank code – Now people don’t laugh at this, I in my 7 years or so of doing computer related security and helping family’s protect themselves and their children from this and many other types of threats. I’ve seen and dealt with hundreds of so called “Self inflicted Identity Theft” the way this happens is fairly common unfortunately…lets just say BILLY chooses their Hotmail password to be 01-12-00. Which just so happens to be their birthday…. Oh and their online bank account password as well…In some cases even their own debit card password (People don’t grin I’ve seen this and in fact just a few days ago) and I’m sad to say that. But on the Internet there is a program called a “BRUTE FORCER” What does a BRUTE FORCER do ? Well basically it tries every possible password letter, number, symbol combo. Till it finds the right one to cracks the password (For what ever account it has decided to target) . This process could take minutes, hours, days and even years to crack said password. It depends on the strength of said password) The good news it is really hard to use in most cases and after the baddies have gotten in and got all that information on you from your hotmail account main profile. He/She may also find a Bank account Statement you decided not to delete left in your inbox. And now knowing you have an online bank account or even a Paypal account. He/She will try your birthday as your password then as the old stand by as your Secret Password Answer to get into your bank account. Then again for the baddies this would be like winning the Lottery. He/She drains your bank account or accounts and is gone and off to the next mark/victim.
DON’T MAKE IT EASY TO FALL VICTIM….FOLLOW THESE TIPS FOR A REALLY STRONG PASSWORD
1. No NAMES (Family name, Pet names, Friends names)
2. Don’t use the same password for more then 2 accounts you have on-line
3. Use upper case, lower case, and number symbol combination
4. Make sure there is at least one number somewhere in your password (Most sites will make you do this..regardless)
5. Make the password as long as possible, more then 7 letters, numbers or symbols long is highly recommended
6. Try not to use auto-complete provided by Firefox or Internet Explorer. Unless you put a really hard MASTER password to get at your other passwords in the case of MOZILLA FIREFOX 3
7. Never post your password or passwords next to your computer. Or in a place that would be really obvious that it is a computer related password for instance where you store your PC GAMES or so on.
– Just because it is the easiest thing to do, Like auto-save your credit card information or online passwords. Think what if my computer got stolen or my child got my password. What could said person get into and what kind of “DAMAGE” can this case in my life, money or relationship wise. Then after doing all the above steps. It may take longer, but trust me you’ll be a lot safer and your gonna be less likely to get caught with your pants down.
**Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I post part 2 of “Identity Theft Explained”
Hope this helps and please be safe and know that a little bit of protection goes a long way. When it comes to any type of technology….
Return To Features Page
Till My Next Post,