Social Engineering -
Are you Cyber Savvy?
you protect yourself from Identity Theft and more?
|According to an in depth report conducted
on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission nearly 10
million Americans were victimized by Identity theft in
2003, which accounts for nearly 5 percent of the
population. This is an increase of 15% in
complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and places
Identity theft at the top of the list of frauds reported
in the United States last year.
Identity theft costs consumers roughly $5 billion
dollars each year. Identity theft costs businesses
another $48 billion. Two-thirds of Identity theft
victims had one or more credit cards misused, about 20
percent said the fraud involved their bank accounts and
nearly one in five reported that the thief used the
victim's personal information to open other accounts in
the victim's name, such as loans, cell phone service,
and other credit cards.
Fifteen percent of all Identity theft victims had
their identities used in non-financial ways. The
thieves applied for and received drivers licenses, new
Social Security cards, jobs and more by utilizing the
the stolen information. Criminals use the victim's
identification to the police during when they are
How do these thieves gain access to our information?
Lists we are on that allow for pre-approved credit,
lists which are sold to various businesses in order to
attract your business by marketing to you, signing up
for prizes, paperwork you throw away, phishing, pharming,
stolen mail and bills, stolen wallets or purses,
computer malware to name a few.
What can we do to avoid Identity theft? Become
savvy in the ways of Social Engineering and educated in
how we control the flow of information from ourselves to
others. This includes securing information we get
in the mail, caution in the manner we respond to
telephone calls, educating our children, educating our
staff, opt out of pre-approval lists, stop signing up
for prizes, ensuring our computer is malware safe,
understanding what it means to surf safely on the
internet and it most definitely includes education in
the form of attending workshops, watch the flow of bills
to and from one's home, reading literature and any other
form of educating oneself and one's family.
Identity theft can ruin one's reputation and it can ruin them financially.
There are ways to unravel the destruction, yet
it takes time, effort and involves a degree of
Preventative measures: It is better to safeguard oneself and family
rather than have to fight the battle of recovery
Theft after the thief has gained access to
The tools utilized to thwart Identity Theft are
tools that secure other aspects of your life.
Identity theft is not merely an Internet
related crime. There are more instances of
Identity theft not related to the Internet than
those which stem from Internet activities.
Learn when someone is 'phishing' for
- Define Identity theft, phishing, pharming, social engineering
- Safeguarding personal information
- Signals to look for: missing bills, etc
- Secure information destruction
- Caution with information divulged
- Create a safe Computer and Internet access environment for the family
- Malware free computers
- The basics of safe surfing.
- Cyber Scams
- Social Engineering within the work environment
|The FBI offers the following tips for Internet users:
- If you
encounter an unsolicited e-mail that asks
you, either directly, or through a web
site, for personal financial or identity
information, such as Social Security
number, passwords, or other identifiers,
exercise extreme caution.
- If you
need to update your information online,
use the normal process you've used before,
or open a new browser window and type in
the website address of the legitimate
company's account maintenance page.
- If a
website address is unfamiliar, it's
probably not real. Only use the address
that you have used before, or start at
your normal homepage.
report fraudulent or suspicious e-mail to
your ISP. Reporting instances of spoof web
sites will help get these bogus web sites
shut down before they can do any more
companies require you to log in to a
secure site. Look for the lock at the
bottom of your browser and "https" in
front of the website address.
- Take note
of the header address on the web site.
Most legitimate sites will have a
relatively short internet address that
usually depicts the business name followed
by ".com," or possibly ".org." Spoof sites
are more likely to have an excessively
long string of characters in the header,
with the legitimate business name
somewhere in the string, or possibly not
- If you
have any doubts about an e-mail or
website, contact the legitimate company
directly. Make a copy of the questionable
web site's URL address, send it to the
legitimate business and ask if the request
- If you've
been victimized by a spoofed e-mail or web
site, you should contact your local police
or sheriff's department, and file a
complaint with the FBI's Internet Fraud
Complaint Center at