You are previewing Identity Theft Alert: 10 Rules You Must Follow to Protect Yourself from America’s #1 Crime.
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Identity Theft Alert: 10 Rules You Must Follow to Protect Yourself from America’s #1 Crime

Book Description

Protect yourself from identity theft!  Nearly 17 million Americans were victimized by identity theft in 2012 alone: for 13 straight years, it has been America's #1 consumer crime. No one is immune: children, the elderly and even the dead have been victimized. Identity theft can be high-tech, low-tech, or even no tech, via "dumpster diving." You're vulnerable, and you need to act.

Fortunately, you can take practical steps to safeguard your identity right now. In Identity Theft Alert, award-winning author and attorney Steve Weisman shows you exactly what  to do, and how to do it. Equally important, he also tells you what to stop doing: the common, inadvertent behaviors that could be setting you up as a victim.

Weisman starts with a clear-eyed assessment of the problem, helping you understand just how much risk you face. Next, he helps you understand, anticipate, and prevent all these frightening forms of identity theft:

  • Identity theft via Facebook and other social media

  • Identity theft via your iPhone or Android smartphone

  • Theft of your credit or debit cards, and other access to your finances

  • Crime sprees performed in your name

  • Medical identity theft that could lead to you getting the wrong treatment – and could even kill you

  • The fast-growing scourge of income tax identity theft, including stolen refunds

  • Don't be the next victim: read this book, follow its step-by-step advice, and protect yourself!

    Table of Contents

    1. About This eBook
    2. Title Page
    3. Copyright Page
    4. Praise for Identity Theft Alert
    5. Dedication Page
    6. Contents
    7. Acknowledgments
    8. About the Author
    9. Introduction
      1. Bonus Online Content
    10. 1. Identity Theft
      1. Terrorism and Identity Theft
      2. Who Are Identity Thieves?
      3. What Do Identity Thieves Do?
      4. College Students and Identity Theft
      5. Malware and Macs
      6. Dumpster Diving
      7. You Are Only As Safe As the Places That Have Your Information
      8. They Should Know Better
      9. Hackers
      10. Identity Theft Risk in Old Gaming Consoles
      11. The Drug Connection
      12. Phishing
      13. Federal Express Phishing Scam
      14. Newegg Phishing Scam
      15. Former Good Advice
      16. More Good Advice to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Phishing
      17. The Dangers of Aquaman
      18. Iron Man 3
      19. Nude Photos of Carla Bruni
      20. Debit Card Phishing Scam
      21. Another Debit Card Phishing Scam
      22. Phishing with a Large Net
      23. Phishing Around the World
      24. Spearphishing
      25. How Do You Know That You Have Become a Victim of Phishing?
      26. Reloading
      27. Identity Theft Through Internet Phone Calls
      28. What Do Kim Kardashian and Michelle Obama Have in Common?
      29. USB Sticks and Identity Theft
      30. Internet of Things
      31. What You Can Do to Prevent Identity Theft
    11. 2. Making Yourself Less Vulnerable to Identity Theft
      1. Online Shopping Credit Card Protection
      2. Updated Web Browsers
      3. SSL
      4. A Primer on ATM Identity Theft
      5. Skimmers
      6. Dump Memory Grabber Malware
      7. Federal Warning
      8. ATM Tips
      9. Mailboxes
      10. Mail Tips
      11. Denver Bronco Cheerleaders
      12. Identity Theft Threats on the Road
      13. Hotel Wi-Fi
      14. More Hotel Tips
      15. Identity Theft When Giving to Charities
      16. Job Scams
      17. Danger Where You Never Would Expect It
      18. Shredding
      19. More Steps to Take to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
    12. 3. Danger on Your Computer and What to Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
      1. Spyware
      2. What Can You Do About Spyware?
      3. It’s Not Always Good to Share
      4. Botnets
      5. What to Do If Your E-mail Is Hacked and Taken Over by a Botnet
      6. Celebrity Malware
      7. Pornography and Identity Theft
      8. Keeping the Family Computer Safe
      9. Help You Just Don’t Need
      10. Wi-Fi—A Convenience to Worry About
      11. E-mail Dangers
      12. E-Cards
      13. Typos
      14. The Company You Keep
      15. We Regret to Inform You
      16. Lures
      17. Java Danger
      18. Adobe
      19. A Few Ounces of Protection—Protecting Yourself Online from Identity Theft
      20. A Pound of Cure—What to Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
    13. 4. Your Social Security Number—An Identity Thief’s Lucky Number
      1. Treasure-Trove of Social Security Numbers
      2. Biggest Offender
      3. Social Security Identity Theft Threats in the Military
      4. Social Security Number Protection Act of 2010
      5. The Good News and the Bad News
      6. Unavoidable Social Security Number Disclosure
      7. Doing Business Online
      8. Social Security Numbers and College Students
      9. My Social Security Account
      10. Driver’s License
      11. When and Where Must You Provide Your Social Security Number?
      12. Restrictions on the Use of Social Security Numbers
      13. Workplace Identity Theft
      14. Higher Education and Identity Theft
    14. 5. Criminal Identity Theft, Taxes—And More Arresting Problems
      1. Criminal Misidentification
      2. What Should You Do If You Are the Victim of Criminal Identity Theft?
      3. Taxes and Identity Theft
      4. Identity Theft and Investments
      5. Jury Duty
      6. Battling the Companies with Which You Do Business
    15. 6. Protecting Your Privacy—A Key to Preventing Identity Theft
      1. Protecting Your Privacy on Facebook
      2. Protecting Your Privacy on Google
      3. Dangers of Data Gatherers
      4. Do Not Track
      5. Actions to Take to Increase Your Privacy
    16. 7. Security Software
    17. 8. The Dangers of Data Breaches
      1. The Black Market
      2. Illegal Profiting from Credit Card Hacking
      3. Hacking Is Universal
      4. LinkedIn
      5. The Lesson
      6. War Driving in Washington
      7. Albert Gonzales
      8. Credit Card Processors
      9. Student Loan Information Breach
      10. Wisconsin Data Breach
      11. Coca-Cola
      12. Colleges
      13. Retailers
      14. FBI Warning
      15. Hotels
      16. Yahoo E-mail Data Breach
      17. Medical Records
      18. Blame the Employees
      19. Google Dorking
      20. Homeland Security Data Breach
      21. Data Breaches at Small Businesses
      22. Experian Data Breach
      23. Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft Due to Hacking of a Company or an Agency with Which You Do Business
      24. What to Do If a Company You Do Business With Is Hacked
    18. 9. Identity Theft After Death
      1. Death Master File and Identity Theft of Children
      2. Contacting the Credit-Reporting Agencies
    19. 10. Identity Theft from Children
      1. Why Would Anyone Want to Steal the Identity of a Child?
      2. How Do You Protect Your Child from Identity Theft?
      3. Teach Your Children Well
      4. RockYou
      5. Child Identity Theft and Credit-Repair Companies
      6. Protecting Your Child’s Identity at School
      7. What to Do If Your Child Becomes a Victim of Identity Theft
      8. What Can the Government Do?
    20. 11. Identity Theft Risks of Smartphones and Other Mobile Devices
      1. Bluetooth Risks
      2. Wi-Fi
      3. 4G Systems Vulnerable
      4. SIM Card Danger
      5. Even Paranoids Have Enemies
      6. Smartphone Charging
      7. Pornography and Smartphones
      8. Dangerous Apps
      9. WhatsApp
      10. More App Scams
      11. So What Should You Do?
      12. Smishing
      13. News of the World Hacking Scandal
      14. Banking with Your Smartphone or Mobile Device
      15. Tips for Mobile Banking
      16. Quick Response Codes
      17. Reporting Smartphone Theft
      18. Warning Signs That Your Smartphone Has Been Hacked
      19. Getting Rid of Your Old Smartphone
    21. 12. Identity Theft Threats with Credit Cards and Debit Cards
      1. Credit Card Liability
      2. Debit Card Liability
      3. Small Charge on Your Credit Card Scam
      4. Debit Card Texting Scam
      5. Mobile Payment Technology
      6. Credit Card Technology
      7. ATM Scam
      8. Another Similar Scam
      9. Skimmers
      10. Credit Card Processing Companies
      11. Make the Matter Even Worse
      12. A Little Defense
      13. Disputing Fraudulent Charges on Your Credit Card
    22. 13. Medical Identity Theft
      1. Big Problem
      2. How It Happens
      3. Indications That You Are a Victim of Medical Identity Theft
      4. What Can You Do to Help Prevent Medical Identity Theft?
      5. What Do You Do If You Become a Victim of Medical Identity Theft?
    23. 14. Identity Theft and Social Media
      1. What Interests You?
      2. Facebook Scams
      3. Facebook Tips
      4. From Facebook to Your Bankbook
      5. Celebrities and Facebook
      6. Miley Cyrus Sex Video
      7. E-mails
      8. How Do Identity Thieves Steal Your Passwords?
      9. Twitter
      10. Twitter Hacking
      11. Another Twitter Scam
      12. Pinterest
      13. Tips for Safe Use of Social Networking
    24. 15. Steve’s Rules
      1. Identity Theft Protection Rules
      2. Rules to Follow If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
    25. 16. Steve’s Top Ten Lists
      1. Steve’s Top Ten Things the Government Should Be Doing About Identity Theft
      2. Steve’s Top Ten Things Business Should Be Doing About Identity Theft
      3. Steve’s Top Ten Trends for the Future of Identity Theft
      4. Steve’s Top Ten Things People Should Do to Protect Themselves from Identity Theft
    26. Index
    27. Technology, Business, and Government Fight Identity Theft
      1. High-Tech Tactics to Combat Identity Theft
      2. Business Fights Back
      3. Government Response
      4. Just Do the Best You Can
      5. Endnote
    28. Financial Privacy Please: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
      1. Safeguard Rules
      2. Pretexting
      3. Opt Out, Opt In
      4. Good Guys in Congress
      5. The Bottom Line
    29. Credit Reports
      1. Big Business
      2. How the System Works
      3. What Is in Your Credit Report?
      4. Who Has a Right to See Your Credit Report?
      5. Who Should Not Have Access to Your Credit Report?
      6. How Do I Obtain My Credit Report?
      7. Reviewing Your Credit Report
      8. Credit Scoring
      9. The No-Longer-Secret Formula
      10. What’s Your Score?
      11. Your Credit Limit
      12. Timing Is Everything
      13. Credit History
      14. Credit Inquiries
      15. A Healthy Diet
      16. Retail Credit Cards
      17. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
      18. Closed Accounts
      19. Canceling a Credit Card
      20. The Battle Against Aging
      21. How Do I Get My Credit Score?
      22. What Does It All Mean?
      23. Garbage In, Garbage Out
      24. Credit Reports and Identity Theft
      25. Credit Freezes
      26. Correcting Errors in Your Credit Report
      27. Blocking Erroneous Information on Your Credit Report
    30. Congress Deals with Credit Reports and Identity Theft: The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act
      1. Major Provisions of FACTA
      2. Disposal of Consumer Information
    31. Identity Theft Insurance—Worth the Price?
      1. Factors to Consider When Buying Identity Theft Insurance
      2. What Can You Do for Yourself?
      3. Should You Get Identity Theft Insurance?
    32. Identity Theft and the Elderly
      1. Medicare Identity Theft Threats
      2. Another Medicare Scam
      3. Medicare Open-Enrollment Scam
      4. Contests and Lotteries
      5. How to Help Prevent Elderly Identity Theft
      6. Signs of Elderly Identity Theft
      7. The FTC Study on Elderly Identity Theft
    33. Form Letters
      1. Letter to Company with Which You Do Business That Has Not Been Tainted by Identity Theft
      2. Letter to Credit-Reporting Agency Reporting Identity Theft
      3. Fair Credit Billing Act Letter
      4. Letter Requesting Removal of Credit Inquiry from Credit Report
      5. Letter Disputing Information Contained on Credit Report
      6. Follow-Up Letter to Credit-Reporting Agency
      7. Opt-Out Letter
      8. Letter to Bank to Close Account Following Identity Theft
      9. Letter to Check-Verification Company
      10. Letter Notifying Bank of Theft of ATM Card
      11. Letter Requesting an Extended Fraud Alert
      12. Letter Requesting Blocking of Information
      13. Letter to Credit-Reporting Agencies Requesting Truncation of Social Security Number
      14. Letter Canceling a Credit Card
      15. Second Letter Regarding Canceling of Credit Card
      16. Record of Identity Theft Communications
      17. Credit Bureaus—Report Fraud
      18. Banks, Credit Card Issuers, and Other Creditors
      19. Law Enforcement Authorities—Report Identity Theft
      20. Request for Fraudulent Transaction/Account Information Made Pursuant to Section 609(e) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681(g))
      21. Sample Dispute Letter—For Existing Accounts
      22. Sample Dispute Letter—For New Accounts
      23. Important Links