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VINE VOICEon November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
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VINE VOICEon December 9, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Living in South Carolina, I am particularly aware of the possibility of Identity Theft, since the all the records of our state income tax department were hacked this last year.

If you were not paranoid about Identity Theft before reading this book, you will be upon finishing it.

This book goes into detail about the various scams that tricksters use to try and steal our identities, which in turn can cause untold amounts of havoc to our credit, our bank accounts, and our medical records. Medical identity theft was a new area to me, that I had not considered previously, but just imagine that you are injured, go to a hospital and are given incorrect treatment because someone else had stolen your medical identity, received treatment on your insurance, and then as a result, your data had been corrupted by the conditions of the other party.

This book goes into great length explaining what your rights under the various consumer protection laws actually are, and what to do when your rights have been violated.

Tips are given throughout the book as to things to avoid and things to do on your computer, with your credit cards, with your credit report and with your paper files.

This book is written in simple terms that all should be able to understand and follow.

Even sample form letters are provided for the reader to copy and use should they need to dispute a charge, an error in a credit report, or what to do in case they fall victim to a scam.

Everyone should read this book!
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on June 30, 2013
Willy Sutton never really said that he robbed banks because that's where the money is. But if he would have apocryphally said it in 2013, he would have been invovled with identity theft since that is where the big money is.

In 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age: New Financial Threats You Need to Know and How to Avoid Them, Steve Weisman lays out practical and pragmatics tips on how you can avoid being one of the millions of victims of identity theft.

The 50 ways in the book end up being over 250 tips. Weisman teaches the reader how to recognize the risks of identity theft and how to avoid them. That is crucial as the scammers are always thinking of crafty ways in which to exploit their victims.

One of the best pieces of advice in the book is to limit sharing your birthday, age or place of birth online; particularly on social media. Weisman quotes a study done from Carnegie Mellon University; which found that a person's social security number could be gleaned based on that information.

The books 22 chapter covers a wide range of topics covering the entire gamut of identity theft threats and vulnerabilities.

For those looking for an easy to read guide to quickly scare them into the realities of identity theft, 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age: New Financial Threats You Need to Know and How to avoid them is a great wake-up call.
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on September 8, 2013
This is a good book. Many of the techniques in the book are valid. A person must look at the fact that technology is changing at such a rapid rate that it could be out dated in 2 days, but the technique principles are still valid. Be ready to adapt your current activity to the current age is the only negative thing that I can say. So all in all, a good book!
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on July 28, 2015
This is a book everyone should read. It tells you how to protect your identity in our digital age. A large percentage of people use digital equipment in many aspects of their lives and identify theft happens constantly. Being a victim of it cannot only cost you money but take years to get things straightened out and get your identity back. This book concentrates on our digital age and offers way to keep identity theft from happening to you. Buy it, read it, and use the information!!
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on January 19, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great compendium, essential, especially, if you're not internet savvy. It's full of useful facts--such as why wifi at your local B&N is not really all that 'safe' to use, and how to access credit reports for free.

But wait, I know all that stuff already, you say!

Yes, but here's why I think this is a keeper anyway: because I've had my credit card info stolen. Heck I had it stolen from right here at Amazon, who we know does everything right! And you know what? When that happens? You freak out. Big time. This book breaks down what to do and how to do it (insisting that prevention is better than panic, but even so, acknowledging you can do everything right and it still happen) in a great checklist. So when you're running around panicking, this book will step by step what to do--even including form letters for you to use in an appendix.

There's a lot to take in at once in this book, so it's a resource you'll come back to again and again. Hopefully not in panic mode!
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on October 5, 2014
Although most of these ideas were things I already knew, he did increase my knowledge of those things. Further, there were many things I did not know or had not thought about. I would call this necessary reading. Among the practical suggestions are interspersed many true life (I assume) stories of others and the horrors they went through involving identity theft. Should one's identity be stolen, his lists of what to do and when could prove invaluable.
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on February 15, 2013
This book gives good ideas and practical advise for protecting your identity in the digital age. Being fairly new to digital communication as a senior, I learned so many new things I need to know. Additionally, this was a free download on my Kindle. I am moving along in the digital age and hopefully in a safe way.
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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2014
It's sad that the more tech we develop, the more criminals find ways to disrupt it. This book presents 50 ways to protect your identity and every one of them should be investigated and put into action. One cannot be too careful on the Internet these days. Believe only half you hear and nothing you read on the Internet. Be warned.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Every once in a while, I'll see a magazine or newspaper or on-line article about identity theft (in various forms). They usually end with a list of do's and don'ts, which I faithfully print/write/clip out - and then promptly forget about.

It's nice, now, to have this book, because it's in a better form to remind me to do this and that. Such as order my free credit reports annually, for me, my husband and my college-age daughter.

It really is up to me. As Steve Weisman makes clear, it's me who has to step up to the plate and do what I can to make it harder to steal my identity/credit card. There is no 100% guarantee, but there's a lot more I could do. And some of the stuff is VERY simple. My daughter and husband have smart phones without using password protection. Not that a password is a guarantee, either. Hence the rash of thefts where the kid doesn't bother to steal the whole purse. He just waits for someone who is talking on the phone and snatches the phone while you're speaking. No password needed.

Weisman makes some things sound a little easier than they are. For example, putting a credit freeze on your credit reporting is a great idea. A PIN is needed to authorize release of information, which means no one can use your social security number to fraudulently open a credit card. The issuing bank won't give a credit card without a credit report. But what Weisman doesn't mention is that the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) hate credit freezes. They cut into their profit and are "inconvenient". So they've put rules on credit freezing, how often and how long in between un-freezings, for example. Which means that if you want to unfreeze your credit reports because you're refinancing your house, Equifax will have a rule to make sure it's difficult to unfreeze and twice as difficult to refreeze again afterwards.

When it comes to spyware, both legal (such as your employer being able to watch what you do on the internet on any computer you use to log onto the employers' server) and malicious (keystroking to secure your bank account password in order to clean out said account), Weisman doesn't give much concrete information as to what you can do about it. About the only advice, and he doesn't actually "advise" it, he just writes, "you can", is to install your own spyware to determine if anyone is fiddling with your computer- but he gives no recommendations or points you to where you would go for such spyware.

"50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age" is a great primer, and great to use as a checklist, as in, "OK, these are steps I can take."

Happy Reader
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