“Carders” as they call them selves are people who deal in the collection and sales of stolen credit card numbers. On various websites run by carders you can purchase credit card numbers in bulk. Most websites are run out of the former Soviet Union which make it hard for local authorities to track down.
Carder quiz: What does a stolen credit card number cost? Cards with spending limits of $5,000-$7,000 were listed for $200 or roughly three cents on the dollar.
Some identity thieves are now targeting children and teens. Their credit record is clean and the theft is often not detected until years after it’s committed. The damage to the victim’s credit report lasts long into adulthood.
Advice: Be careful when you give out your kids’ social security numbers. Many schools and sports ask for them but don’t have a valid reason to need them. When you get your yearly credit report get your kid’s also. Early detection is the best way to protect the long-term damage from fraud.
Now that most of us have filed our taxes and we start to think about spring-cleaning you might want to take a look at your bulging file cabinet. Much of the information people retain has no value and can be used by a thief.
Advice: At least once a year you should go through your files and shred everything that is no longer needed. The most common mistakes are saving pay stubs and credit card statements. Neither has any value once you have verified their accuracy and both contain a wealth of information for a thief. They should only be saved for three months if at all.
ID Theft Alerts has written in the past about phishing but what about its more insipid sibling, pharming. Pharming is a form of computer virus where you computer automatically redirects you to fake websites. A pharming virus can take you to a fake website even if you type in the website address directly into your browser. The fake website is designed to collect your personal information for identity theft.
Advice: Install virus protection software and keep it updated. If a website looks funny type in a password you know to be incorrect. If it works you know you are on a fake website.
You can also report phishing and pharming scams and find out about new ones at the Anit-Phising Working Group.