Identity theft is one of the most popular cyber crimes in the world with 11 million cases of identity theft in 2011 among Americans alone! Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. It's important to understand just how vulnerable you are to this type of crime and also what you can do to prevent it! With Black Friday coming up and internet sales about to boom with the holidays you should be more vigilant than ever for shady schemes online.   Steps to Internet Security

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The Facts

  • 1 in 25 Americans were victims of id theft in 2011or 11.6 million people
  • The average cost of identity fraud: $631 & 33 work hours
  • $1.52 Billion: the cost of identity theft & fraud in the US in 2011


Did You Know?

  • From 2010 to 2011 67% more Americans had their personal data exposed by hackers
  • If your data is compromised, you are 9.5 times more likely to have your identity stolen.
  • 2010: Identity theft complaints
    • 24% - People aged 20-29 years
    • 13% - People aged 60 years or older
  • Stolen identities are often used to apply for social security and to apply for fraudulent credit cards.
  • One study concluded that 10% of 0-18 year olds had their identity stolen.  The youngest victim in the study was five months old and the greats fraud was $725K.
  • Children are 50 times more likely to be the victims of identity theft.  Identity thieves target children because they have social security numbers and no credit history.


The Internet is Becoming Less Secure Each Day

  • In 2011 Web-based attacks increased by 36%
  • There were over 4,500 new attacks each day
  • Unique malicious web domains:
    • 2010 – 42,926
    • 2011 – 55,294
  • New variants of malware:
  • 2010 - 286 million
  • 2011 – 403 million; a 41% increase

    Ten Steps to Internet Safety


    1. Don’t feed the phish: No one should ask you for your SSN or bank info by email.
    2. Password creativity: Don’t use the same password for everything.
    3. Invest in security: Get an up-to-date virus checker & good security software (firewall and active malware protection).
    4. Use pre-paid credit cards: Check statements regularly (more than once per month).
    5. Don’t open suspicious emails: If you don’t know the sender, NEVER open an attachment or executable file (.exe, .com, .ba, etc). If in doubt delete it!
    6. Share selectively: Make all profiles private & don’t accept invites from strangers.
    7. Surf securely: Only visit well-known sites. Don’t randomly click links.
    8. Backup: Securely backup computer data regularly.
    9. Be ready: Keep a checklist of what to do if you are compromised.
    10. Encrypt your sensitive data:
      • Turn on File Vault in security settings (OX S)
      • Buy a third-party application (Windows 7 Ultimate includes BitLocker encryption).
      • Buy security suite like McAfee's Total Protection.
      • Download TrueCrypt for free.

    Password Best Practices

    • DO Use at least one special character (e.g. !£$%^&*()._+{}:@~<>?)
    • DO  Use at least one number (e.g. 12345)
    • DO NOT Use something that can be found in a dictionary
    • DO NOT Use names of your family, your favorite team, city of your birth, or using easily guessed words (like “password”)


    What to do if your data is compromised?

    Follow The Three C’s



    Immediately change all passwords. Do not use the same password for different accounts. Do not use the compromised password in the future. 


    Contact your bank, credit card companies, and the credit reporting agencies.  Close accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for unexplainable or unauthorized charges.


    You may need to communicate with government agencies such as Dept. of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration.


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Neil is a Marketing Technologist working on the Content and Corporate teams at Veracode. He currently focuses on Developer Awareness through strategic content creation. In his spare time you'll find him doting over his lovely wife and daughter. He is a Co-Owner of CrossFit Amoskeag in Bedford NH, his favorite topic is artificial intelligence, and his favorite food is pepperoni pizza.



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