Id Theft Alerts

August 18, 2010
Identity Theft at College

University Building

As kids head off to college don't forget to warn them about identity theft. Here are some basic steps for every student to follow:

  • If the mailbox isn't locked then send important information to a PO box.
  • Lock up personal information in a desk or file cabinet.
  • Don't lend out credit cards or debit cards.
  • Never co-sign for any credit.
  • Check account balances frequently.
  • Be weary if credit cards show up that were not applied for.
  • If using shared computers don't access bank accounts, log out of everything, and clear any saved passwords before leaving.
RFID Privacy

Much has been made about stores putting RFID tags into clothing. There are people like Eugene Spafford who think it is very invasive to personal privacy. Then others like Jeff Jarvis think the threat has been overblown.

It is probably too early to make a final call. If the tags are used by stores to track inventory it is no problem. If the store ties the tags to your information at the register then they have crossed the line.
Speaking of College

University of California at Berkeley has decided to roll back its plan to take genetic samples of incoming freshmen. The change is a result of the California Department of Public Health's ruling that the genetic testing required advance approval from physicians and should be done only by specially-licensed clinical labs. [article]
Lowest Identity Thief

Steven Nelson, a 29-year-old tax preparer from the Bronx has been charged with identity theft. Nelson stole the social security numbers of pediatric cancer patients. He used the information to file over 100 false tax returns. It is believed he made off with over $200,000. [article]

How can anyone be so low as to target kids with cancer. Hopefully, Nelson gets the maximum sentence of 15 years.
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