Monday, April 28, 2008

7 surefire ways to become an ID theft victim

Rarely do you see highly technical computer security articles address the problem in witty, easy to understand terms. I was happy to discover this post from the 'News & Advice' section (single-page available here). Sheyna Steiner takes on the topic of Identity Theft with a pragmatic, intelligent, and somewhat comical 'in your face' look at the perils we all willingly expose ourselves to when online. It's a great read, and there's a lot of simple yet informative tips for staying safe.

"Experience the hassles of being defrauded firsthand! If you love bureaucracy and the thrill of waiting in line to talk to government and bank employees again and again, becoming an identity theft victim might be right for you."
Sign me up! I wish every day could be a trip to the DMV.
"For maximum risk, commit the computing equivalent of licking a handrail in a New York City subway station and do some online banking on a public computer -- like the one at the library or a public cafe. Bonus points are added if your Social Security number is your user ID for any transactions."
Who hasn't licked the NYC subway station handrail? I thought that's what they meant by the 'flavor of the city'?
"Secret crushes, long lost friends saying "what's up" or strangers hawking cheap drugs -- you'll never know unless you peek at that e-mail."
Thus shattering my fantasy that I had attracted 43 secret admirers today.
"These days one has to assume that any communication with a business or government entity that hasn't been specifically initiated by the consumer with the appropriate authentication process is a complete swindle."
Unfortunate and true.

Tip of the hat to Sheyna and the Bankrate team for this excellent article.

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