Identity theft: A Question of Your Identity

Imagine  applying for credit and receiving
a credit report that charges to you moneys
that you know nothing about. Or in a more
extreme case, having your I.D rejected and
being told it's not you.

 And the mother of all violations: having the
validity of your identifying documents questioned (proving that  you are who you say you are). If this happens to you, and you think changing it is a simple matter...You're in for a rude awakening.

The  horror stories are too numerous to list
here. But preventing identity theft, like any
other preventative measures requires a
proactive attitude on our part.

The operative phrase here: "An ounce of [theft] prevention is better than a pound of cure."

 According to some sources, it can average,
as much as, as 2 years and $1000 to regain
your identity.

 Some background

At the risk of trumpeting the obvious, look
around you and see where your millionaires
are being made. Can you say IT (information -

Information in the business world has always
been a priceless commodity, nowadays with
the World wide web growing in leaps and
bounds and the intense focus on getting a
piece of the consumer, knowing who and
where we are, to business is all important.

On-the-ground (paper transactions) is not
a safer haven. According to sources theft of
your information occurs more frequently on
the ground in many cases through your paper
mail, credit card statements, especially.

This collecting of personal information is
fertile ground for identity thieves (a prover-
bial harvest of plenty). Filing a job applica-
tion online is fraught with the potential for
abuse of your personal information and is
indeed the latest place online, for this kind
of abuse.

Spammers are setting up duplicates of
legitimate websites and asking you to
refresh your personal information on these
fake sites.

The battle for consumer information is raw
and nasty, and in some cases legitimate
information gatherers has become unwitting
participants in this thievery of consumer
identity, through they gross mismanage-
ment of our information.

Information they promise to protect. It's a
tawdry affair. Sadly, our lawmakers are in a
constant catch-up. But you can mitigate this
potential raping of what should be your inner


A Firewall is a generic term for a secure
layer of protection between your computer
and the internet. Don't go online without it!!

 Spy hunter software

 Firewall/virus software is not the end-it-all,
I speak from personal experience when I tell
 you spy hunter software  is equally as
important as your firewall/virus protection.

Here is why. In my earlier days on the
Internet, I down-loaded every piece of useful
free software I could put my hands on.

What I ended up with was a preverbal
Trojan horse of spy ware roaming in the
background of my computer. But shouldn't
your virus software have kept them out? You
ask. Well I said Trojan horse...I invited 'em in
when I accepted the free software.

As a matter of habit I kept my internet
History (sites I visited) and my temporary
Internet download files clean. Disabling
cookie is not an option for me.

Here we go again I down-loaded some
free spy removal software. Brother it
revealed stuff in there that wasn't fit for the
eyes of the missus and the yung uns.

This report tells you who is spying on you, the type of information they are collecting, and to whom it is being sent. Bear in mind, one must thread cautiously with the know-ledge that some things in your spy list are legitimate.

Spy ware cannot be taken lightly, they're now
tracking your key strokes and collecting lots of personal information including credit card

After that lengthy scroll, bear in mind that being
proactive have a way of saving the day. It makes a
lot of life's conundrums manageable. Truth be told.
The line between identity theft online or on the
ground (in many cases) is pretty much blurred, not
to mention the obvious.

Following are some experts guidelines for
preserving your identity on and offline.

On the Ground

  • Get an attitudes: Some of that regular junk
    mail you express to the garbage contain
    identifiable information, please shred it.
  • Check your credit card bills the minute they
    arrive and follow up on any discrepancies.
    This should include all of your bills, but your
    credit cards will by far, be the source of most
    of your problems.
  • Most credit card companies now inform you
    of any perceived unusual activities on your
    bill. While your liability is limited in any
    unauthorized use of your credit card. The
    greater bother is  that someone, was able to
    do this.
  • See to it that your mail box has a secure
    lock. If it is broken into you are at least
    aware of a violation.
  • When doing credit card transactions in
    restaurant and malls, your sole focus should
    be eyeing what happens to your credit card
    at the check-out. The old carbon copy thiev-
    ery has been elevated to taking photographs
    of your card.
  • You can have a new credit card issued free,
    with a new number once in a while. Remem-
    ber to update this new information with the
    people you do business with.
  • We tend to get comfortable with our security
    passwords, why not, it takes time for it to
    become a mere thought. Please change it
  • Make every attempt to put your photo on all
    of your identifying documents.
  • Your credit reporting agencies file should be
    your last line of defense, but a critical one.
    Find out what's in it.
  • September 1, 2005. Your credit report is now FREE
    Annual Credit is the authoritative source. Accept no other. Call 1877 322 8228

Latest Developments '06
A recent study found that 91 percent of internet users also shop on-line. Less than half don't have a fire wall on their computer, 44 percent of these shoppers don't check for a site security before shopping. It is very important to check.

This is indicated by a symbol of a yellow lock in the bottom right-hand corner of the browser window. Absence of this security maker doesn't mean the site is not creditable, but lacks the best security for your transaction.

Related Issue
In a 2004 survey by AOL, 77percent of those surveyed said their computers were safe. But 8opercent of the surveyed computers were found to be infected. In one case 100 pieces of Spy ware was found on a customer computer who said his computer was safe.

Report Fraud to
Credit Bureaus and Government Agencies

Credit Bureau &
Government Agencies
Phone Web Site
Experian 1800-397-3742 Credit reporting
Trans Union 1800-680-7289 Credit reporting
Equifax 1800525-6285 Credit Reporting
Social Security 1800-269-0271 Government
Internal Revenue 1800-829-0433 Government
Federal Trade Commission 1877-438-4338
Identity Theft Site
Government  enforcement


  • Good firewall/virus software is essential , if
    you want any protection at all.
  • Spy hunter software is essential. They're in
    there, get 'em out.
    A word of caution. Some spy hunter software
    brings with it it's own set of spies. Check their
    privacy statement.
  • Regularly erase your online history (the
    sites you visited). Sometimes to enhance
    your internet pleasure requires down
    loading what are referred to  as plug-ins,
    for example, to view an animated flash
    presentation. These are in your temporary
    internet files. Erase them when your done.

What's in your Cookie

  • A cookie is a piece of software used by
    those you do online business with, to identify
    and serve you. On the other hand when you
    visit certain sites, a cookie is placed on your
    computer to track your online activity.

    At your discretion when visiting certain websites
    disable your cookie.

  • Be very leery about who you give your
    social security number to.
  • Please believe that a company online
    should also have means of the usual
    verification on-the-ground.

Conclusion: Despite the risk involved in any
transaction online or on-the-ground. There's a
lot to be said for online security using 128 bit
encryption of your information (highly secure)

On the ground theft from the mail box, lost or
stolen credit cards, your trash, and now the cell
phone camera. Beware of someone pretending
to use their phone while you're using your credit
card for purchase, they might be taking a photo
of your card. Store employees are not exceptions.

Back to top

Greater Philadelphia Consumer Protection
Philadelphia County 215-560-2414
Chester County 610 344 6150
Delaware County 610 8914865
Montgomery County 6102783565
Bucks County 215 348  7442

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