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Is someone else playing your part?

The web has ushered in so many conveniences and possibilities for us. We can do all of our shopping, talk to friends, share photos, do business to business commerce, etc. online. Most of us did not think that being connected would go as far as others trying to become us. It has become so common that Googling IT will probably get you more links to identity theft than information technology. According to the law, identity theft is the appropriation of an individuals personal information with the intent to commit fraud by impersonation.

"Do not all you can, spend not all you have, believe not all you hear, and tell not all you know.

Dont Spin Stories about the Web
There has been much paranoia circulating around the perusal of the Internet due to this heinous crime. A study published in 2005 showcased that only 11.6% of identify theft was in direct relation to the Internet. The major cause of identity theft was a lost purse or wallet, and the crime was usually committed by someone the victim knew. Unfortunately, watch out for family, friends, and coworkers who may have access to your personal information.

"Distrust and caution are the parents of security."
Offline Crime
We need to stop pointing fingers at the Internet and be a lot more careful with our items and information offline. It is far too common for people to be flooding to retail stores to consume the latest electronics or any and all other products that pique our fancy. This results in cashiers and store clerks to be less astute at the register due to the influx of consumers.

Hardly anyone pays with cash now (ironically thinking it is safer not to), so most transactions are done with credit. How many times do you get asked for backup id while making a plastic payment? "Hardly ever," should be the prevalent reply.

"Hang a lantern on your problem."

Most stores would not want to slow down the process of commerce by engaging in efficient identity checks. Most people would probably even be annoyed despite their well being at risk.

To Go
Here are a few simple tips to follow to ensure that you will remain yourself:

- Do not make personal information readily available

- Shred all documents that you do not need for personal records

- Keep personal records in a safe or very secure place

- Regularly check bank statements and billing statements to make sure everything matches your own records

- Use updated anti-spy software

- Protect passwords and change them frequently

- Dont respond to emails that ask for your personal information

- Retype a web address rather than clicking on links

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