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spacer spacer Identity and Privacy

"Identity Theft" is when one person learns personal information about another person; then uses the information to masquerade as that individual.

Personal information can consist of some or all of the following: full name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and financial account numbers (including PINs or passwords). At the least, this information gives a thief the ability to access existing banking and credit accounts; create new accounts, such as loans, credit and/or mortgages; and use those accounts under the victim's name. In extreme cases of identity theft a victim's identity could be used for drug trafficking or other criminal purposes.

The Internet has given identity thieves a new and faster way to steal personal information. Phishing is a popular, high-tech scam used to steal personal information. Phishers will send pop-up messages and/or e-mails that attempt to convince others to submit personal information through e-mail or on a fake Web site. A phishing scam usually threatens a consequence, such as loss of funds or loss of account access; if there is no response to the message.

Revealing personal information is always a risk. Most businesses do not initiate requests for personal information, so use caution when contact is initiated by someone claiming to be a representative of a familiar business or organization. Call the business and talk to a manager about the contact if you are suspicious. Many online companies also have an e-mail account specifically for reporting fraud and phishing scams, and will request that you forward suspicious e-mail so they can use it to help fight identity theft.

Spyware is another method of gathering personal information. Spyware programs can track keystrokes and browsing habits, which means a thief can use the tracking results to figure out the usernames, passwords, and access codes used on the computer being tracked.

Visit these Web sites for more information on Identity Theft and how to keep your information safe:

US Department of Justice
Federal Trade Commission
Identity Theft Resource Center

Who's at the center of security? U R


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Updated: August 20, 2010 KSC Photos on SmugMug Subscribe to the KSC RSS news feed Keene State on Facebook Keene State on Twitter Keene State on YouTube

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