Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
Unfortunately, we HAVE TO read this book.
on November 27, 2012
I know someone who is living the nightmare of stolen identity, loss of credit, and incredible frustration and stress that doesn't seem to have an end in sight. (The opposite is true: it keeps getting worse).
There seems to be a certain randomness to the process of identity theft, to some extent it is a crime of opportunity. But it is also a crime that many of us innocently leave ourselves vulnerable to because we don't know how to think like a criminal. My friend is not someone who is reckless or sloppy; she took all the ordinary precautions to protect her privacy online and in her daily life. Why it happened to her and not to people who are a bit more blasé about the information they provide is beyond me. I identify with her, because my attitude and behavior are so similar to hers that, if it happened to her, it can happen to me. We don't do Facebook; we don't even own smart phones or enter private information in our dumb phones; we remove old hard drives from computers before discarding; we don't provide information to people who phone; we are very careful online--we thought we were safe. Or, at least, safer than average.
I wanted to get inside the mind of identity thieves to see what they look for, how they choose their victims and, more importantly, what am I overlooking. This book is an eye-opener. It goes beyond the obvious and common sense precautions I was already taking and shows vulnerabilities that never entered my mind, even though I am a very private and cautious person. For example, I never thought:
-that obituaries are a great source of information;
-that the social security numbers of children and the elderly are premium targets;
-that a raised the little red flag in your mailbox is not a good idea;
-that Firefox and IE have "do not track" capabilities which we should all implement;
-that so many "trust worthy" institutions have access to our social security numbers (hospitals, doctors, banks, lawyers, government agencies, colleges, credit cards, job applications--the list is nearly endless) and that all it takes is one employee within that institution to begin your nightmare.
No matter what page I open to, something I had previously not thought of jumps out at me. It is depressing that we have to live our lives in a defensive position, and that we have to assume the worst all the time. But it is the new reality and we are the final line of defense and, even so, it could still happen to us.
Being informed and aware adds some protection and this book is an EXCELLENT resource of information on the many ways we are vulnerable and the way to control those aspects that are within our somewhat limited control. Especially after having seen how many ways the consequences of identity theft impacts your life, I am committed to doing everything I can to limit the probabilities.