Wireless Identity Theft

By: Robert Andrew

Identity theft continues to be a growing problem around the world. Despite all that's been done to fight identity theft in terms of laws and statutes passed and the use of available technology, identity theft continues to be the fastest growing white collar crime. In fact the very technological advances used to fight identity theft may be among the biggest problems in fighting identity theft.

Identity theft has moved the Internet which is still like the Wild Wild West in that it is highly unregulated and not difficult for savvy criminals to steal the personal information they need to commit identity theft while hiding their own identities. These high-tech criminals make use of the latest technologies to perpetrate their crimes and often are one step ahead of law enforcement agencies using technological advances to fight identity theft.

Identity theft is not going away any time soon so the best defense is to keep your personal financial information as private as possible. The personal information to be most concerned about is your Social Security number and any credit account numbers whether it be for Visa or MasterCard credit cards or for department store or gas cards.

First of all don't carry any more credit cards than you actually need. That way if your wallet or purse is stolen, the risk of fraudulent transactions is limited to the cards actually stolen. Also never carry your Social Security card with you. You should have your Social Security number memorized. If an identity thief gets hold of your Social Security number, he or she basically has all they need. Armed with a Social Security number, it's easy to get your name and address from any number of online services who sell personal data for a minimal fee.

But stealing wallets, purses, mail, or dumpster diving in which thieves search your trash for personal information is the old-fashioned way to commit identity theft. An increasing number of identity thieves are using computers and the Internet to steal the personal information they need to steal identities.

One of the biggest loopholes is the proliferation of wireless routers in homes and small businesses. Wireless service may be convenient but it's also easy to intercept the signal and gain illegal access to an unsuspecting victim's computer and all the personal information on it. Think about all the sensitive personal information you have on your computer. You probably have your name, address, and possible your bank account and credit card account information somewhere on your computer. It's scary how quickly and easily a tech-savvy identity thief can access and steal your personal information without you even knowing about it.

The good news is that today's wireless routers come with a variety of security features. The bad news is that these features come in the "off" position by default and most consumers don't take a few minutes to protect themselves. It only takes a few minutes to add password encryption and that will likely be enough to protect your from identity theft as the hacker will just move on to an easier target instead of taking the time to try to guess your password.

Identity Theft
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