Date:         Wed, 30 May 2001 01:29:52 +0000
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 29 May 01 - Identity Theft
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
              TOURBUS Volume 6, Number 84 -- 29 May 2001
    _________ ____________ ________ __________ _____________ ___ _
   /         |            /        |          |             /   | \
  |            STOP  LETTING  YOUR  COMPUTER  RUN  YOU!    /    |  \
  |__________|__________/__________|__________|___________/_____|   \
 /                                                              |----\
|  "The Book That Should Have Come With Your Computer" is 400   |////|
|  pages of practical advice, illustrated and searchable.  A    |////|
|  bargain at $29.95, this book on CDROM will save you time,    |////|
|  money and frustration.  Become an Instant Web Search Expert, |////|
|  Prepare for Computer Disaster, Protect Sensitive Data from   |////|
|  prying eyes and Child-Proof your PC.                         |////|
|                                                               |////|
|         |////|
| CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS NOW                                |////|
       /   \  /   \                                             /   \
       \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/
       FIVE YEARS of Searchable Archives at !!
               TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Identity Theft
Remember that 1995 movie "The Net", starring Sandra Bullock?  Okay, I
didn't see it either.  Somehow I couldn't imagine Sandra as a software
engineer after watching her in "While You Were Sleeping". But I
digress... "The Net" was a story about identity theft, and that's the
topic we'll explore in today's TOURBUS.
+----------------- "BUT WHAT DID IT SOUND LIKE?" -----------------+
  In a word, incredible.  I used the [ProMedia] 2.1s for music,
  movies, and games. In every instance the system was both
  dynamic and comfortable.  The 2.1s are probably the best
  sounding desktop speaker that I have used.."-M. Wiley,
  The experts have spoken!  Try them for yourself 30-days risk
  FREE.  Only $179.99 for a limited time at
+-------------- ACCESS YOUR COMPUTER - FROM ANYWHERE -------------+
 Revolutionary remote-access technology allows you to access and
 work on your Windows computer from any Web browser.  GoToMyPC
 gives you unlimited access to email, files, programs and network
 resources from home or on the road.  Perfect for tele-workers,
 travelers, sales people and consultants.

It sounds scary.  But should you be afraid?  You may be wondering
exactly what the phrase "identity theft" means.  Perhaps it conjures
up images of evil plastic surgeons, or someone standing on the street
corner yelling "Stop that man -- he just stole my IDENTITY!"  And
ironically, the policeman says "Who are you?"
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information
(usually without your knowledge) to commit fraud or theft. It's a
problem that existed before the Internet, or even computers. But
computers and the Internet might make it easier for Bad People to
learn your name, address, birthdate, social security number, credit
card, bank account or driver's license number.
And armed with some or all of that data, it becomes trivial for a
criminal to invade your privacy, run up a tab at your expense, open
bank accounts, apply for loans, establish phone or utility service,
request a postal change of address, or even commit crimes in your
Who Wants to Be a Billionaire?
A few months ago, a high-school dropout employed as a busboy made
headlines when he was caught in a scheme to steal millions from rich
and famous people such as Steven Spielberg, Ross Perot, Oprah Winfrey
and Ted Turner.
Police arrested 32-year-old Abraham Abdallah, in possession of a
tattered copy of Forbes Magazine's "400 Richest" article, marked up
with the social security numbers, home addresses and birth dates of
200 celebs and moguls.
Abdallah allegedly used the Internet for some of his research, and was
able to obtain detailed credit reports on his victims, gain access to
credit cards and poke into accounts at brokerage houses. Abdallah's
virtual house of cards began to tumble when Merrill Lynch got
suspicious about an email request to transfer $10 million.
Don't Be the Weakest Link
Even if you're not a billionaire, you could put yourself at risk of
identity theft if you're not careful.  If you don't want to be among
the 500,000 people who are victims of identity scammers each year,
here are some things you can do to protect yourself, both online and
 + Never send personal information such as credit card or social
   security numbers by email.  Think of email the same as a post
   card, in terms of security.
 + Don't reveal your password to anyone.  At websites that require
   a login, use something other than your dialup userid & password.
 + Put as little as possible in online profiles, especially if you
   use AOL.
 + Be very careful at public Internet terminals, ATMs and phone
   booths.  Someone could be "shoulder surfing" to learn your
   password, PIN code or calling card number.
 + When making an online purchase, be sure the merchant uses a
   secure server. (The site address should begin with HTTPS instead
   of HTTP.)
 + Don't respond to messages informing you that you've won a prize,
   if they require you to provide a credit card number, SSN, etc.
   in order to claim the booty.
 + Don't respond to messages informing you that you've won a prize,
   period.  NEWS FLASH: You didn't win.  It's either a spammer or
   a scammer trying to get money or personal info from you.
 + When you're in a public place and you have to enter private
   data, use the "two finger" method.  Put both of your index
   fingers on the keyboard or keypad, and pretend to press a key
   with one hand, while pressing the desired key with the other.
   With practice, you can enter your password or PIN number in a
   way that makes it virtually impossible for snoops to detect.
 + Keep a close watch on laptops, PDAs and cell phones when you're
   in a public place.  Protect access to these devices with a
 + If you sell a computer or hard disk, make sure the disk is
   wiped clean.  But deleting files or even formatting the disk
   may not be enough.  I suggest a digital "file shredder".  You
   can find and download a free program to do this here:  
Got Bilked?
If you believe that you have become a victim of identity theft, quick
action can minimize the damage.  Here are some steps you should take
immediately if you lose your wallet, passport, or birth certificate,
if you have a laptop stolen, or if you note suspicious activity on
your credit card.
 + Notify the police in case of fraud or theft, and get a copy of
   the police report.
 + Contact your bank and inform them if a credit card or other
   account may have been compromised.
 + Ask the credit bureaus to attach a fraud alert to your report.
 + Contact the post office to see if a change of address has been filed.
 + Ask your Internet provider for a new password and/or email address.
Educate Yourself
Here are some good sites that provide more information on identity
theft and tips on protecting your personal privacy.  The U.S. Federal
Trade Commission has a useful website with information about identity
Another resource created by the FTC is "ID Theft: When Bad Things
Happen To Your Good Name".  
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse provides in-depth information and
practical tips on how to safeguard your personal privacy.  
A few people wrote to me with questions about the EBATES program and
how to get the $10 Gift Certificate.  If my first attempt
to explain this was unclear, let's try again...
EBATES is a shopping portal that offers you rebates up to 25% when you
shop at popular online stores such as JCPenney, L.L. Bean, CDNOW,
Disney Store, Sharper Image, Yves Rocher or many others.  After you
sign up with EBATES (it's free to join) and make a purchase at one of
the participating stores, you get three nice rewards:
  - The $5 signup bonus from EBATES
  - The $10 Gift Certificate
  - The rebate on your purchase
Here's an example:  Let's assume you make a minimal $5 purchase and
the rebate is 25 percent.  With the $5 signup bonus, the $10 Amazon
certificate and the rebate of $1.25, you wind up with the item you
ordered AND you're $11.25 richer!
When was the last time you went shopping and the manager put money in
your pocket on the way out the door?  I haven't seen a deal like this
since the promo two years ago.  So jump on this one
before it expires -- here's the link:  
That's all for now, I'll see you next time!  --Bob Rankin
=====================[ Tourbus Rider Information ===================
   The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238
     Copyright 1995-2001, Rankin & Crispen - All rights reserved
 Help the hungry, poor and sick - for free!
      Subscribe, Signoff, Archives, Free Stuff and More at the
              Tourbus Website -

TOURBUS - 29 MAY 01 - Identity Theft, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
TOURBUS Site Search