Monday, August 2, 2010

Do identity theft prevention services really work?

After reading Googlebomb and Wild West 2.0, I've been a bit more interested in this topic, including identity theft. And PC World has written an article about protecting your identity which asks if the services work.

Now there are no reviews of individual services, but the article does have links and advice on how to protect your physical records, which thieves can steal (for Canadians, there is advice on the CBC website). People worry a bit too much about high tech methods of stealing data and don't worry enough about low tech methods (stealing mail, finessing you on the phone, someone unscrupulous takes your file from a cabinet and sells the info).

And this curious mix of low and high tech thievery that was profiled on Marketplace, Who's Minding the Store?

I don't want to be a fatalist and suggest that if thieves want your data, they will get it. Though this is possible, there are steps you can take to make it harder for them to get it. Especially when you are putting your data out online in a job search.

And before you think, whoa, I'm a penniless college student/consultant/professional, what are they going to get from me? here are some examples:
  • Get more credit cards
  • Get a job
  • Get health care services
  • Get insurance
  • Buy property
  • Get arrested while using your identity
So, not to get all John Walsh, but do your best to protect your own identity and show others how to batten the hatches.

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