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Secure your identity

All it takes is a little slip and malicious opportunists will have all the information necessary to take advantage of John Q. Public.
Identity theft, one of the fastest growing crimes per capita in the United States, is a reality. No matter how safe the community, no matter how sheltered the lifestyle, it can strike anywhere and hit anyone.
It can be random or targeted. It can happen through solicitation or by accident, when an immoral person finds a wallet on the sidewalk and runs to the store to rack up purchases on a stranger’s credit card.
Recently, a scam involving a somewhat sacred cow of Americana, the responsibility of jury duty, has come to the attention of local governments and law enforcement officials.
It works along the same lines as many types of over-the-phone identity attacks. The purpose is to catch the victim off guard with something that sounds official.
The caller will say they are a part of a law enforcement organization investigating an outstanding warrant for skipped jury duty. No one wants to be the person who gets in trouble for that kind of an offense, so it makes the next request — “We just need your date of birth and Social Security Number to verify this” — all the easier to pass off. A defensive victim is a pliable one.
Don’t be fooled. In every case, if a person identifies themselves as part of an official government, law enforcement or otherwise influential organization over the phone and fishes for your personal data, refuse. Hang up, call that organization back and verify the requests.
Identity theft is a time-consuming and heartbreaking affair. It can be carried out in a moment and take months or years to set straight. Exercise caution with your identity. Today’s world, which now turns on the convenience and accessibility of computers and the Internet, is one rife with people who are out for their own profit at the cost of others’ welfare, reputation and security.

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Posted by on Jun 22 2009. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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