4/21/2005

Identity Theft

Identity theft has been a common issue during the past few years. Last year, the Better Business Bureau reported over nine million Americans who were victims of identity theft. They all averaged $1000 loss.
People are dumpster diving to get old bills, pre-approved credit cards, bank statements and much more. Many people believe that it is safer to throw these documents in the garbage than it is to deal with them on-line. The best option is to handle with the internet, even though there are bogus e-mails, and web sites the get people to respond back, indulging personal information.
Another risk is the home computer. There are several ways that hackers can get information from the home computer. The best thing to do is get the Webroot’s Spy Sweeper 3.5. This is a Windows program that is a very good spyware protector.
This article discusses the problems of identity theft and offers some solutions for them. The last solution is to be a little paranoid of your own identity.

3 comments:

Dr. Tufte said...

My positive response is that I recommend a shredder. They're cheap and easy to use.

My negative response is that I still wonder how much of this problem is an urban myth. We've all heard the stories. Something about this doesn't seem right though.

Specifically, we're asked to believe that this is both widespread and costly. Yet, there is no end to the flow of credit card offers for most people. Does it strike anyone else as odd that profit maximizing companies are sending us financial time-bombs in the mail and they are not getting sued left and right about this?

How widespread can this be? Do you actually know anyone first-hand who has been a victim? Other than myself, I don't (and in my case it was plain old theft of my number of a handwritten receipt).

How costly can this be? Ultimately, the credit card companies eat most of the cost of this problem, but their own actions (like eliminating the deductible if you lose your card) suggest that it isn't that big a deal for them).

The bottom line is, I'm dubious.

The Eudaimonic Leftist said...

If you used a UNIX-based operating system such as Linux or BSD, you wouldn't have to worry about spyware, hackers and crackers. And recent advances by the open source community makes it accessible to use.

sierra said...

I agree with both Dr. Tufte and the eudaimonic leftist by saying that people need to use shredders because they are a good tool to destroy things. Also people that do a lot of business and personal things over the computer need to get a UNIX-based operating system such as Linux or BSD. Personally I think people are to naive, and don't think that this problem will happen to them, when in all reality it is going to happen to them if they continue to do dumb things.