Social Engineering -
Are you Cyber Savvy?

How do 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 arrested.

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 discomfort.

Preventative measures: It is better to safeguard oneself and family rather than have to fight the battle of recovery from Identity Theft after the thief has gained access to personal information.

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 information.


  • 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.
  • Always 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 harm.
  • Most 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 at all.
  • 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 is legitimate.
  • 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

Dolphmera Solutions


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Last Update: 10/21/2005 11:23:59 AM