What Will the Scammers Think of Next?
Here's one for the books. Don't be a victim!
Sept. 29. 2005: Vol. 1, No. 35
IN THE NEWS
Self-proclaimed identity thieves have a message for you: Personal information is frighteningly easy to get.
"Stealing your ID can be as easy as ABC"
The Boston Globe, Sept. 25, 2005
We live in a service-driven society. And the jet fuel of service is information.
Over the past year, private business and the government have shown themselves to be cruelly negligent about safeguarding personal data.
In 2004, the Federal Trade Commission recorded 388,000 ID-theft complaints, a 19 percent increase over the year before.
The average out-of-pocket cost to individuals is $500.
To paraphrase the MasterCard commercial, the cost of months of credit denial, anger and anguish: priceless.
In his Boston Globe story about ID theft, Joe Light describes a chilling interview with an 18-year-old identity thief in Russia whose business is creating highly personal dossiers about individuals. All this information is floating around the Internet unprotected and available--if you know where to go.
The Russian thief gave the writer some names of people whose dossiers he had ssembled. Joe Light called one of them and writes:
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.
The point is that Joe Light's saga directly relates to yet another horrifying Internet/telephone scam I'll reveal at the end of this story.