O'Reilly logo

Privacy Means Profit: Prevent Identity Theft and Secure You and Your Bottom Line by John Sileo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 2. Define the Problem

Until we know exactly what we need to be protecting, we are simply wasting time and money. The most cost-effective and efficient way to implement change begins with defining terms and outlining a plan of attack. This chapter looks at what makes up identity in its entirety, where it "lives," and how it is stolen.

What Is Identity?

In the realm of daily life, identity is how we define or describe ourselves—as a mother, wife, piano player, author, and so on. But in the realm of privacy and "identity theft," we focus on a subset of identity called data identity, which is how others, usually companies, associations, or governments, define or reference us. For the purposes of this book, however, I will refer to data identity simply as identity.

Identity is made up of any name, number, or attribute that provides information on us or allows access into further personal data about us. Identity is almost always used to link us to money, special privileges, or access. For example, our Social Security number connects us to our credit file, retirement and un-employment benefits, and tax obligations. According to the "2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report," Social Security numbers top the list of compromised data among victims, at 38 percent.[7] Frequent-flyer numbers give access to our accrued mileage and membership benefits; supermarket loyalty cards to our buying habits and product preferences. Technology has made it easier to replicate these forms of identity for fraudulent ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required