Friday, 12 September 2008

Identity Theft

I've just been learning how social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo, supermarket loyalty schemes and others sell of your personal information. Its a shocker, they don't even make much from it, about 20p a person every time, but by selling millions of peoples information to hundreds of companies they get a big profit. It explains how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 23, is the youngest billionaire in the world. The trick apparently is to get you to sign up to this without you noticing, its all in the small print. The terms and conditions is an 11 page document!

One paranoid chap said the way to prevent identity theft was to avoid using your real name and address in anything, such as utility bills, bank accounts, pay as you go phone etc. This seems a bit extreme to me, I would suggest just giving them the wrong details. So on one site give them one date for your birthday, on another site use another one! Also why not use a different postcode, one near your own but it will make it harder to steal from you. You could even spell your name wrong occasionally, or invent a middle name, just to throw them some chaos.

Tesco managed to get a mention, as if you find a keyring with a loyalty card attached, they have been known to give out the persons address, to help whoever finds it steal everything from your house. Every little helps. Google will sell on every search you do, and also uses 'scanning technology to deliver targeted text ads and other related information', cheers.

In the TV programme, they researched a politicians background, then applied for credit cards in his name. They even got his signature on a cheque. He wasn't troubled by this, being a New Labour politician, he smiled and said it was all ok really. They had stopped short of actually getting the cards, as they didn't wish to break the law. It would have made far more impact if they had actually done so, and bought something with it to show how easy it is. Then given it to him.

You can wath it on has some advice aslo.
*90% of users never check all their transactions on their bank or credit card statements.(ID Theft Protect, Aug 2007)
"Every breath you take,
Every move you make,
Every bond you break,
Every step you take,
(They)'ll be watching you", cheers for the cartoon.

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