Web Security Ways & Means

lockWe’ve read the headlines, heard stories and perhaps you have become a victim of Internet security identity fraud. There are a lot of ways an individual can be compromised by those who want to further themselves through theft of your identity.

1 – dumpster diving. We’ve heard the stories about banks or financial institutions tossing out records containing private client records. It’s also possible for your everyday trash to contain bank – credit card – investment – filled out tax form or everyday bill information. Other areas of interest to a thief are anything related to your medical insurance and drivers license. Medical insurance is valuable and your coverage can be a source of revenue to a thief. Steal this coverage information it and it can be packaged and sold to others. Your drivers license can be used to cash checks or fill out credit applications. money stack

Too many people are asking for social security card numbers and the opportunity for this information to get out is great. Because so many front line worker bees ask you for this number, I’m prepared to give out a false one. I give it out the real number when absolutely required but not to most that ask.

What can you do to help yourself with this problem? Buy and use a cross cut shredder. Sure the FBI can piece your shredded papers back together if they need, but are you worried about them? If so, this article isn’t for you.

Pastor charged in lottery scam.

2 – online theft of identity is common and recognizing the numerous ways this may occur can help if you take steps to mitigate the problem. There are many tools available online to aid the would be thief in gaining the upper hand to grab your identity and use it the way they wish. One of the less sophisticated methods is to gain access through your email. These are called phishing schemes. An official appearing email is sent often containing links to a fraudulent front in order to gather the information you may send as a response. As I’ve posted previously don’t ever click on these links. If a financial institution, utility company or place of employment needs to reach you, use their official outside the email link address to connect or safer still call them.

Google logo has come up with a method to make it much more difficult to compromise your identity using their tools through a two step verification. Follow the underlined link to get started.

Another trick up the sleeve of scammers and schemers is to embed a program into a picture or link to a site that will transfer a program to your computer to record your entries into private accounts. These key stroke loggers have been forged via clever people to gather all they need to gain access to your email or online financial accounts.

Your guard is down when a friend or relative sends you an innocent looking email which may include links to pictures, video or an amusing story. You know and trust this person and even their email message may include a message that says the message and content were scanned by a well know anti-virus software. This isn’t necessarily true and your email friend may have been the 100,000 person to have passed on this story or video. These images or stories may contain more than you bargain for. Read this story as background into the problem. Online modern Bonnie and Clyde use spyware to gain the advantage.

I recommend if you are using some version of Microsoft Windows, to install a software firewall which helps you fight these online problems in it’s many forms. Here’s one type worth choosing; ZoneAlarm Firewall & Anti-Virus. Remember, never use or install two ant-virus programs. Remove the old one if you decide to use a different program before installing the new.

Combine your own knowledge of personal communication, safe document handling, online access and email usage to help you in preventing a serious open file cabinetand personally devestating problem.