Student Loan Theft

Just yesterday I posted about how buying a shredder really doesn’t make college students any more or less likely to become a victim of Identity Theft, and today, I find myself reading an article which proves exactly what I was saying.

Personal data may have been inadvertently mixed up if different users logged on at roughly the same time and performed the same Web site function, such as updating a home address. The department determined that less than one-half of 1 percent of the 6.4 million total borrowers — or roughly 21,000 — had logged on to the Web site between Sunday and Tuesday.

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Don’t Fall for Identity Theft Hype!

Actual statistics about online Identity Theft
I found this today and thought I would share it here. It’s a summary from ABA Creative Web Services about a study done on online shopping and Internet-related fraud.
It is a commonly held belief that Internet use increases the chance of Identity theft. Thanks to a study by James Van Dyke this has all proven to be hype. Mr. Van Dyke had a hunch that the belief the Internet was causing an increase in identity theft and credit card fraud was not valid. The research he conducted debunks many of the myths between online activity and ID theft.

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Identity Theft – It’s all in the Family

How hard must it be to turn your own daughter over to the police? Well I, for one, want to salute this mother. Pamela Blais turned in her own daughter for Identity Theft.
Her daughter, Ryanne Blais, took out not one, not two, but THREE credit cards in her mother’s name, racking up a total bill of over $15,000 in credit card debt.
The daughter’s response when she was caught, according to this article, was that she thought the whole situation would “just take care of itself”.

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Good News about Identity Theft from Community Dispatch

Here is a direct quote from a little web site (Sponsored by the IRS?) called Community Dispatch.

You Can Help Shut Down Phishing Schemes
The good news is that you can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. If you receive a suspicious e-mail that claims to come from the IRS, you can relay that e-mail to a new IRS mailbox, Follow instructions in the link below for sending the bogus e-mail to ensure that it retains critical elements found in the original e-mail. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the suspicious e-mails you send to trace the hosting Web site and alert authorities to help shut down the fraudulent sites. Unfortunately, due to the expected volume, the IRS will not be able to acknowledge receipt or respond to you.

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Good Identity Theft Angel

Tell your friends and family – If you get an email from Identity Angel, DO NOT DELETE IT! It’s a GOOD THING!
Here at IdentityTheftSecrets, it’s my job to rat on, and root out scammers, thieves, and crooks. Many of them are very intelligent, and they use their intelligence to destroy other people’s lives through the awful crime of Identity Theft.
So, it’s a refreshing change when I get to talk about someone who is making a difference, and is using their powers for good.
Meet Dr. Latanya Sweeney, Ph.D. This brilliant woman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has invented something called Identity Angel. This benevolent program will search through documents on the internet (I assume including PDF’s, Word Docs, and other harder to reach file types), to find your information.
If it finds your information, it attempts to email you to let you know.
What’s the advantage of this, you say?
I know none of the SuperSleuths would do this, but let’s say that you, or someone you know, is going to apply for a job, and unthinkingly posts a name, address, AND social security number on a resume’. If these three pieces of information all exist in one place, then the Identity Angel will attempt to send an email to let you know that posting this information opens you up to Identity theft. (At the very least, you should remove your Social Security number from this document, because with these pieces of information, an Identity Thief can assume the role of YOU, for whatever type(s) of Identity Theft and crimes they would like to commit on behalf of you – meaning, AS YOU.)
I don’t know what servers are being used to power this technology, but IdentityTheftSecrets would love to see Google or another company with large server capability take on this philanthropic and empowering software, and put it to work in a large scale environment.

Testifying before the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee in June 2005, Sweeney advocated the belief that tools like Identity Angel would enable people to secure their identities while not sacrificing their privacy rights. “Following the events of September 11, there is a common false belief that in order for America to be safe, the public must give up its privacy. This is not necessary, “Sweeney said.

Dr. Latanya Sweeney, Ph.D., a patriot and brilliant philanthropist, is a powerful person because she’s using technology and her mindpower to further the development and protection of humankind. (What do you want to bet she doesn’t spend a lot of time watching television?)
Tell your friends and family: If you get an email from Identity Angel, DON’T DELETE it! It’s a GOOD THING!
Click here to listen to the interview on NPR
Read more here.

Using Internet Theft as a Defense

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has taken to recouping losses (due to the millions of people now downloading music online) by filing small to medium sized lawsuits against every day people. Have most of these people downloaded music online? Probably. The cases rarely go to trial and are usually settled out of court, because most people realize, at some point in the process, that it would generally cost more to fight the RIAA than it would cost just to pay them (Unless you have a legal plan)
But here’s something interesting. As stated on OUT-LAW,

Tammie Marson of Palm Desert, California refused to pay the initial $3,500 demanded by a group of record labels and opted to fight the case in court. Marson and her lawyer Seyamack Kouretchian of Coast Law Group argued that the fact that Marson’s computer contained illegal music files downloaded over her internet connection was not proof that she had committed a crime.

The court didn’t have to rule in her favor, because the record labels backed away from this lawsuit, presumably as a result of hearing the defense and realizing that Ms. Marson and her attorney would be willing to go the distance to take the case through trial.
The Identity Theft SuperSleuth isn’t going to make a statement about downloading music. However, this is interesting from an

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Citibank Identity Theft Commercials

Someone posted these online, so I thought I would share with you here.
Please make sure to leave your comments below!
In my opinion, Citibank’s product won’t protect your identity (their protection won’t charge you to protect your own cards through CIti, but it doesn’t help with your credit identity, your social security identity, your medical identity, etc., unless you pay extra). However, their marketing department is really, really brilliant.
Don’t take my word for it with regard to their “Identity Theft” service, check it out for yourself. If you think that the Citi Identity Theft plan is a complete solution for Identity Theft, then it is recommended that you really understand what you’re getting.
But please, do enjoy the Identity Theft videos, courtesy Citi marketing.

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A step in the right direction

While hasn’t been able to ascertain the exact topics that these police officers were being trained on, offering any type of class to law enforcement on identity theft, even if it’s just awareness training, is definitely a step in the right direction.
“A new identity theft investigation training course has helped to better prepare 476 Michigan law enforcement officers to investigate identity theft, credit fraud and counterfeiting complaints. The free training course was offered from July 10 through Aug. 3 by the Identity Theft Teams of the Michigan State Police (MSP), in conjunction with the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP) and the Michigan Sheriff’s Association (MSA).”