Re: Stealing Your ID Can be as Easy as ABC

By Joe Light, Globe Correspondent

> Self-proclaimed identity thieves have a message for you: personal > information is frighteningly easy to get. > Tammy Martin, a 37-year-old instructor at the University of Hawaii, > couldn't believe it. > "This is wild," she said. "You can't live your life in a balloon, > you know? But this is just wild." > Her shock was warranted. I had just called her on an unlisted > cellphone number and informed her that I had her Social Security > number, Visa card number, bank account and personal identification > numbers, and eBay account name and password. > If I chose, not only could I drain her bank account and rack up > charges on the Visa, but with her Social Security number, I could > probably open new credit cards -- maybe even a mortgage -- long before > she discovered a problem. Ultimately, she would likely not be > responsible for the charges, but it might take days -- or months -- to > rectify her credit. > Martin was not a victim of identity theft. But the information was in > the hands of a self-proclaimed identity thief. I received the > information during an interview with someone who goes by the online > nickname Bart Maza. He said he is an 18-year-old high school dropout > in Russia. In total, he gave me the data of 17 people. > I'd written several articles about identity theft for the Globe, but > this was the first time I attempted to directly contact an apparent > identity thief. Although I had spoken to many law enforcement > officials, private security investigators, victims, and consumer > advocates about the issue, I decided to go to the source to truly > understand how the identity theft supply chain operates -- from the > time that the data are stolen to the time that information is used > fraudulently. >

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What this means is all the data held by the credit bureaus is bunk. They can't even tell if identity theft has happened or not until it's far too late.

Of course as I've said before, banks are notoriously insecure. But they spend an awful lot of money making sure you or I never see news that they have serious flaws in our banking and financial systems.

Best option is to just use real cash for everything. Of course it makes it inconvenient to buy online, etc. Oh, and never, ever, write a check.

Reply to
Tony P.
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