Sunday, September 30, 2007

PC Tools Warn ID Fraud Kits Now Available on eBay

Online auction site, eBay, is unwittingly selling software that is used to hack eBay user accounts and steal personal information, according to research from online security experts PC Tools.

A number of software items for sale on the world's leading online auction site contain a variety of programs including keyloggers, trojans and other malware making devices that are aimed at helping users hack computers, websites and even individual user accounts.

"Despite eBay's excellent reputation for ensuring that it protects both consumer safety and privacy, it's almost impossible to police every item," said Mike Greene, VP Product Strategy at online security experts PC Tools.

"I am certain that the sale of this sort of software on eBay comes as a surprise to most, but the success eBay has also meant that the world's leading online auction site can also attract the wrong kind of attention," said Greene.

"It is ironic that something intended ultimately to steal a consumer's identification and financial information is being sold via what is one of the world's number one targets for the ID theft," said Greene.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

One in Four Teens Admit to Cyberbullying

New research suggests that 27% of teenagers are cyberbullies and 6% harass or bully others online frequently. The authors conclude that innovative approaches are needed to reduce the occurrence of Internet harassment and cyberbullying.

The research, conducted by the University of New Hampshire's Crimes against Children Research Center, was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The conclusions were based on interviews with 1500 young people ages 10 to 17 across the nation.

The study found that many youth involved in cyberbullying have poor relationships with their parents. As such, efforts aimed directly at teenagers are needed. Dr. Michele Ybarra, the principal author of the study and top researcher in the field, explains, "Youth who harass others online are twice as likely to have conflict with their parents. It's important to involve parents in Internet safety efforts, but it's important also to engage teenagers."

Dr. Ybarra has been involved in research about Internet harassment since its emergence in 2000. As a researcher, she examines the data clinically and dispassionately. Nonetheless, she was unable to ignore the pain that teens involved in Internet harassment are experiencing that is emerging through the statistics, she says. "For some young people," Dr. Ybarra explains, "Internet harassment and cyberbullying can be a very disturbing experience."

What has resulted is, a web site developed by Dr. Ybarra for teens involved in Internet harassment. This site provides an informed-by- research roadmap to thwarting teen cyberbullying. "While there are many sites out there that talk about cyberbullying, none of them speak to teens. To truly make an impact on this teen-perpetrated victimization, we decided to design a web site that is fresh and exciting for teens, but also accurate and research based," Dr. Ybarra describes.

Explosive growth of Internet use among young people has been mirrored by increasing awareness of its potential positive and negative impact on them. Recently, public concern has focused on accounts of children and teenagers being sexually solicited and harassed on social networking sites. Some politicians and lawmakers are advocating measures to restrict children and teenagers' access to these sites as a means of preventing sexual exploitation of young Internet users. "What is more important than restricting sites," Dr. Ybarra urges, "is for parents to be involved in their children's lives. Do you know where your child goes and who your child is with when they're online?"

How To Avoid Copyright Infringement

by Brian Scott,

Copyright infringement is not an easy thing to explain. While it may seem as simple as not using someone else's work, it's not that easy. Thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and many other organizations, we have the ability to use others' works -- as long as we use it under Fair Use laws. So what does Fair Use have to do with copyright infringement, and how can you utilize it?

Fair Use laws allow us to use a copyrighted work without having to pay someone royalties. This includes using a copyrighted work for educational or instructional uses, criticism of the work, commentaries on the work, news reporting about the work, teaching on the work (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship uses, and research. This is talked about fully in Section 107 of the Copyright Code (commonly called Fair Use) and is available for you to read at your local library.

Copyright Infringement in day-to-day life

Sometimes, if you’re writing a paper for work or school, or if you are creating a Power Point presentation, you need to use someone’s work that is already in copyright. So how do you use it without committing copyright infringement? All you have to do is ask -- the worst they can say is no, right? But, if they do say no, there are several items in the public domain which may help you to finish your project without having to commit copyright infringement.

What is the public domain, and how does it relate to copyright infringement?

Material that is not copyrighted is considered in the public domain. You cannot commit copyright infringement on works in the public domain. These works include things that the copyright has expired on, or is not copyrightable -- such as government publications, jokes, titles, and ideas. Some creators (writers, musicians, artists, and more) deliberately put their work in the public domain, without ever obtaining copyright, by providing an affiliation with Creative Commons. Creative Commons allows people who create materials to forfeit some, or all, of their copyright rights and place their work either partially or fully in the public domain.

So, how do I ensure I’m not committing copyright infringement?

First of all, if you’re going to use someone else’s material, you may want to check the public domain to see if something is suitable for use, instead of trying to use someone else’s copyright. However, if you can’t find something suitable (and you can’t create something yourself), the next best thing (and your only legal course of action) is to find a piece that is in copyright, and contacting the copyright holder.

When you contact the copyright holder, make sure you tell them what you want to use their piece for -- whether it’s for your blog, podcast, or report -- and ask if you can use it. You may have to pay royalties, or an attribution in your piece, or a combination of both. The creator may also place many limitations on when and how you can use their material. Follow all these instructions they give you, and you’ll be free and clear to use their work as you want.

Once you have permission to use a copyrighted work, you need to make sure you stay within the agreed-upon boundaries. If you veer outside their agreed terms, you may open yourself up for a copyright infringement lawsuit, which can be nasty, costly, and time consuming. If you’re in doubt, before contacting the copyright holder, contact a copyright lawyer to ensure you’re following the law -- and protect yourself!

QUESTION: If you hear a great new band, and then download a song from MySpace, is that legal or not?

ANSWER: The events of copyright infringement are not only limited by Kazaa, Morpheus, or some other file sharing peer to peer (P2P) service. If you download a song -- no matter if you’re on a website or a MySpace page -- and it isn’t coming from the artist themselves, you may want to think about downloading it. Chances are, if it’s not coming from them, you can’t have it -- unless it is under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons gives the exact ways in which you can use the license -- and many times those are completely free and legal to download, so make sure you check if it’s under a CC License.

QUESTION: If I’m writing a paper, or article, and I want to quote another website, can I?
ANSWER: First of all, did you know the minute you write or create something, you hold the copyright to it? ESPECIALLY if you’re writing it online -- it’s very easy to track things on the Internet. So, if you’re writing a blog, all the things you’ve written (no matter good or bad) are recorded, thanks to, which lets you review last versions of your web pages.

ANSWER: Sometimes, we can use someone else’s work in our own, and think we’re small and anonymous. That no one will notice by the time you get it down -- you’re just “borrowing” it. Before you begin quoting anyone’s website -- from CNN to your local neighborhood hardware store -- you need to ask the person who holds the copyright if you can. Usually, they’ll let you if you attribute to them. Depending who you talk to, you’ll either have to pay royalties or license rights to republish. If you don’t ask before you quote, you’re beginning the events of copyright infringement and you are opening yourself up for a lawsuit.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Three Charged with Pirated DVD's

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the York Regional Police Service have charged three Markham area residents with creating, possessing and selling pirated DVD movies. Yesterday, the RCMP Greater Toronto Area Federal Enforcement Section and members of the York Regional Police searched eight stores at the Pacific Mall in Markham and two retail outlets and a storage unit in the Dynasty Mall in Toronto. Several employees found to be selling pirated copies of Chinese and English feature films and TV series were arrested. A vehicle and two residences were also searched.

Police are alleging the accused unlawfully recorded and burned DVD's. In excess of 15,000 DVD's were seized during the searches yesterday. Some of the movies found were "Superbad", "Bourne Ultimatum", "Surf's Up" and "Rush Hour 3" - movies which are currently running in local cinemas. Also seized were 65 DVD burners located in one of the residences.

Charged under the Copyright Act are:

- Yannie SIU, age 26 of Markham, Ontario
- You Jie WU, age 37 of Markham, Ontario
- Yu WANG 23 yrs old, Markham, Ont.

"There are legitimate businesses within these malls who are losing business and having difficulty staying solvent because of these pirated DVD's," stated Inspector Peter Goulet, Officer in Charge of the RCMP Federal Enforcement Section.

"This was a sophisticated criminal operation that netted these individuals huge profits" said Chief Armand La Barge. "We are pleased to work with our colleagues from the RCMP to ensure individuals running these illegal operations are brought to justice."

Several of the accused will be appearing in Newmarket Court today for a bail hearing.

Relying on the Credit Freeze Alone for Identity Theft Protection is Very Unwise

Recent reports from several sources claiming the "credit freeze" provides seamless protection against identity theft are misleading to consumers. Unfortunately, some reports have come from well-meaning consumer-oriented watchdog groups, as well as unscrupulous purveyors of overblown identity theft protection and credit monitoring services.

Working to identify and correct unsubstantiated or erroneous claims about preventing identity theft is the Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), a San Diego-based, award-winning public education organization with a specialized identity theft risk management certification program.

"Whether you do it yourself or pay another, placing a credit freeze on your credit record does not make you bulletproof or invisible to identity thieves. The credit freeze is only one useful tool in a set available to most consumers to lower the risk of identity theft and it should be employed only in combination with other proven means of dealing with the entire spectrum of identity theft and identity fraud," said Yan Ross, Project Manager for ICFE Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS).

ICFE cites the following:

(1) According to FTC statistics, a significant portion (in some states, nearly 50%) of reported identity theft cases are types that do not appear in the credit report of the victim – such as employment fraud, medical benefit fraud, non-financial criminal usage, and government benefit fraud. A pending United States Senate investigation even suggests that refunds on bogus tax claims are costing the innocent victims copious amounts of both time and money.

(2) The false sense of security a consumer may have, based on buying credit monitoring services or imposing a credit freeze, may result in failure to take other steps to prevent or mitigate damage from other types of identity theft.

(3) Unless there is demonstrated ability by an identity theft solution provider to assist a covered victim with on-going professional resolution services, paying for a credit freeze or monitoring is simply not an effective means of protection.

ICFE is a major participant in the fight against identity theft and is an active member of the Identity Theft Standards Panel, a joint initiative sponsored by the American National Standards Institute and the Better Business Bureau, calling for establishment of uniform standards for the creation, transmission, and maintenance of sensitive consumer information.

ICFE has developed a certified course in Identity Theft Risk Management (CITRMS); which has been accredited for up to 30 hours of continuing education credit by the governing bodies of numerous professional disciplines. Participants are trained to take preventive steps to avoid becoming victims of identity theft, and to also help consumers and small businesses manage this risk.

More information is available online at

Lulu Enterprises Files Suit Against Hulu for Trademark Infringement

Lulu Enterprises ( has filed suit against N-F Newsite LLC ("Hulu") for trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices and for federal cyberpiracy.

In the complaint, filed in US District Court in Raleigh, NC, Lulu alleges that Hulu (, as a result of their recent name and Internet domain announcements, have intentionally attempted to create confusion in the marketplace. Hulu, in name, as a mark and in their business as a digital content distribution platform, represents a definitive encroachment.

In addition to the conflict in business for digital video, Hulu's trademark filing, filed on August 22, 2007, identifies various products and services, many of which are related to, and even identical to, the services that Lulu provides under its Lulu marks.

"We have spent more than five years and tens of millions of dollars in investment successfully building the Lulu brand and website into a place for millions of creators and consumers to publish, buy, sell and manage digital content," said Lulu CEO Bob Young. "It is clear we are required to move quickly to protect our intellectual property and defend ourselves against this infringement before it significantly damages our business."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spam Containing Link to Fake US Soldier’s Blog in Iraq Spreads Trojan

SPAMfighter Consumer Alert -- E-mail users are now getting, what looks like, a chance to view a soldier's blog on his experiences in Iraq. Users are encouraged to click on a link in order to read what the US soldier has experienced. However, the link in this e-mail connects the e-mail user to a fake blog that appears legitimate, and without their knowledge, two Trojans are installed into their computer. SPAMfighter products have already stopped this threat for all 3.8 + million of their members.

"Spammers and virus creators try to lure e-mail users in by using very intriguing topics that many people would be likely to click on. It is very important e-mail users never click on a link in an e-mail unless it is from a known sender," comments Managing Director of SPAMfighter North America Alix Aranza.

The spam mail encourages users to go to see the blog of a group of Soldiers in Iraq. The site users are taken to a virus website that looks legitimate and extremely real as the creators of this website have reused legitimate pictures from other real blog sites, as well as videos from YouTube.

The spam mail encourages users to forward this website on to their friends as well. Because the site looks legitimate, users are more inclined to forward it, thereby infecting other computer users without the virus creators having to do anything. This mail will be filtered for all SPAMfighter users. Download a free trial of SPAMfighter at

When a computer user arrives at the website, two Trojans are installed. These Trojans are called W32/Exploit.Gen and RIFF/Ani_exploit.gen. Both of these Trojans can be removed with VIRUSfighter. VIRUSfighter can be downloaded free here:

E-mail users are reminded to remain alert, and use caution when opening links, or files. Computer users are also highly recommended to have an updated security system with anti-spam and anti-virus programs.

Michelin Issues Consumer Fraud Alert for United States and Canada

Michelin North America today issued a fraud alert to consumers in the United States and Canada. Yesterday, Michelin learned from some savvy consumers that fraudulent Michelin checks were being mailed, apparently part of a scheme to defraud the public.

Letters, claiming to be "Consumer Prize Award Notifications" have been received by consumers in at least nine states. The letters instruct consumers to deposit the enclosed Michelin check and then issue a new check in the same amount from the consumer's bank account to cover the supposed taxes and administrative fees associated with their prize. Consumers are told they will then receive another check and details on their prize winnings. Contact information on the letters lists a Canadian address.

These Michelin checks are completely fraudulent. Michelin has absolutely no involvement in any program or sweepstakes of this nature.

Since yesterday, Michelin has received more than a dozen calls about the scam. The company has alerted the appropriate law enforcement officials in the United States and Canada and is working with authorities to find those responsible and hold them accountable.

Any consumer receiving a letter or other communication of this type should contact their local law enforcement authorities immediately. The checks involved in this scam are counterfeit and not issued by Michelin. Consumers receiving suspicious Michelin checks are asked to contact the company toll free at 1-800-MICHELIN.

Consumers are urged to be vigilant whenever receiving unsolicited offers or prizes. Be very suspicious of offers that require you to pay money or send checks in order to receive a prize. Additional consumer guidelines, including instructions on how to file a complaint are available from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at:

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Beginner's Guide To Understanding Copyright Infringement

As you're creating something, you may wonder what copyright infringement actually is. It's necessary, if you're creating a work -- albeit written, musical, videos, software or some other form -- that you know the definition of copyright infringement. This issue is very complicated, and not very easily spelled out in plain English.

Copyright infringement is defined by the jurisdiction -- the United States of America has different copyright laws than the United Kingdom, or Australia, or Russia, or even China. Because of this fact, you should first, before anything else, check the laws in your jurisdiction (country, city and province) before using something that isn't in the public domain.

For our definition of copyright infringement, works in the public domain aren't copyrightable. Works that aren't copyrightable include ideas, works that aren't eligible (150 years-old documents, or older -- think Beethoven and Frankenstein), data that isn't categorized in a creative way (this could be a database, such as a phone book or other publicly-accessible data), or items that the owners have specified creative commons copyrights.

As you can see, copyright law is rather complicated. gives us the definition of copyright infringement as: “Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material that is protected by intellectual property rights law particularly the copyright in a manner that violates one of the original copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it. The slang term bootleg (derived from the use of the shank of a boot for the purposes of smuggling) is often used to describe illicitly copied material.”

Our definition of copyright infringement includes the works of creative commons. Creative commons is an organization that allows for the copyright author to determine the uses available for people who want to use their works -- for such items as for audio, images, video, text, educational materials, and software. It allows for the copyright owner to allow people to use their works for non-commercial, commercial, no derivatives, share alike, or just by giving attribution. Creative Commons is a license granted by the copyright holder, and can be used in both online (electronic Internet) works and offline works.

The real definition of copyright infringement comes from your jurisdictions statutes. In the United States of America, our jurisdiction's copyright laws are contained in Title 17 of the United States Code, §501 - §513. You can also find a definition of copyright infringement through such organizations such as the European Union or World Trade Organizations.

Copyright Infringement Statistics

Copyright infringement statistics, by most standards, are inflated. Most recent copyright infringement statistics cite that almost 30 percent of software is pirated in the United States of America. This means they think 30 percent of the software on your computer is illegal.

However, copyright holders have good reason to worry that we're violating their rules: the number of suspects referred to the United States attorneys with an intellectual property lead increased twenty six percent in the period between 2002 and 2004 -- and this number is rising. Copyright infringement statistics are difficult to come by, but it's plain to see it's affecting every aspect of intellectual copy.

Copyright infringement statistics show a lot of violations in pirating software and music. Many unsuspecting people, from college students to thirty-something professionals, download music on a consistent basis, and often it's not downloaded legally. Often times, someone will download a song off a MySpace or YouTube page, without giving thought to who owns the copyright and if it's legal for them to have it.

Copyright infringement statistics, brought to us by the music recording industry, would have us believe that online infringement is seriously hurting the recording industry. Statistics also show that many people are downloading games off the Internet. With the litany of games available to us -- from complete alternate worlds such as World of Warcraft to the more mainstream “The Sims” series -- people are clamoring for PC games. They're fun, intelligent games that play on a system everyone has -- a computer. Because of this, people are always looking for new games to play and download, and they may download a game without knowing that it's not “freeware” (as many Internet games are).

In addition to computer games, copyright infringement statistics also show that movies are downloaded in abundance on the Internet. Many peer to peer file distribution sites and programs (such as Kazaa) allow transferring of large files; plus they're easy to find online. Using a tool provided by one of many suppliers, users can search for any item they like -- and, of course, the system is abused and people download copyrighted movies and entire DVDs instead of publicly available works.

Copyright infringement also branches into written works, such as articles, books, poems, etc. Many times, a student will copy a paragraph or two without realizing the implications of such copying. While they may think of it as “borrowing,” if it's used on a grander scale, the person could be opening themselves up to a large court fight, especially if it's used commercially.

As you can see, copyright infringement statistics show us that many people use copyrighted works illegally. Do your best diligence when using another's work -- and ask for permission every time you want to use something that you haven't created. Chances are, if you just ask the question up front you'll save yourself from becoming a copyright infringement statistic and save yourself from a major lawsuit.

Brian Scott is a freelance journalist who covers copyright law for Download his free e-book, "Copyright Basics" at

Financial Aid Scams Rise by 60 Percent

Financial aid scams grew by a whopping 60% in 2006, according to the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), which is no surprise to, a public service website that has been helping people protect themselves from online and offline scams since 1994. "With about half of all college students requiring some form of financial aid, it's a huge opportunity for scammers," says Dr. Audri G. Lanford, Co-Director of

The cost of a four-year degree from a public university now averages $115,000, according to The College Board. "In the face of these staggering fees, it's easy to see how parents could fall for an offer of a 'guaranteed' grant or 'secret insider information' into the financial aid process," says Dr. Lanford.

In one scam reported by the CBBB, a company invited parents to a "free" financial aid seminar -- actually a high pressure sales pitch -- promising to find grants and scholarships for the student. The "free" seminar ended up costing parents between $700 and $1,000. The scammers disappeared with the money and were never heard from again, according to complaints made to BBBs nationwide.

The request for a large, up-front fee for a "guaranteed" scholarship should be a red flag, notes Legitimate scholarship sources never make guarantees -- and they don't require students to pay up front for anything. There are companies that sell lists of scholarship opportunities, but the legitimate ones don't promise that you'll ever be awarded any funding. They simply sell you a list and you'll have to do the legwork of applying on your own.

Another popular scam involves bogus grant checks. Students receive an official-looking notification of a grant award, complete with check. The recipient is told to deposit the check and send some of the award back via a wire transfer. It may take weeks for students (and their banks) to discover that the original check was a counterfeit -- and then students are liable for the full amount they have sent to the scammers.

College students and their parents can find a list of additional financial aid "red flags," as well as tips to help them avoid scholarship scams, by visiting

Patent Expert Says House Bill Adopted Today Weakens U.S. Patent System and Hurts Entrepreneurs

General Patent Corporation Chairman Alexander Poltorak, a national expert on the U.S. patent system and author of two books on intellectual property, condemned the House of Representatives’ passage this afternoon of the patent reform legislation.

“The passage of the Patent Reform Act of 2007 in the House of Representatives is a severe threat to our entire patent system,” Poltorak said. “As a whole it means weaker protection for universities, small inventors and entrepreneurs across America.”

“The bill undercuts domestic industry and hurts independent inventors – the very backbone of American ingenuity,” said Poltorak, whose company has helped defend the patent rights of many American inventors over the past 20 years. “The House bill renders patents nearly worthless, which will consequently weaken the incentive to innovate. It will stifle innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Congress should instead consider a two-tiered patent system that creates different levels of patentability standards with different rights for each type, said Poltorak who formed an alliance, American Innovators for Patent Reform, to promote his proposal. A two-tiered system, which has proven successful in much of Europe and other parts of the world, would improve patent quality, reduce the backlog of pending patent applications and also minimize patent litigation, Poltorak said.

Poltorak, a former Russian dissident who fled the Soviet Union with his family in 1982, founded General Patent Corporation in 1987 after using his background as a physicist to form a high tech company that develop and patent technology for computers and laptops. He has successfully defended patents against business giants such as I.B.M., Motorola and TDK. He is the co-author of Essentials of Licensing Intellectual Property (2004) and Essentials of Intellectual Property (2002), both part of a series.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A New Resource in the Battle to Combat Click Fraud

Matthews Middleware Consulting have begun publishing a new blog dedicated to combating click fraud. Their new blog Fraudulent Clicks is a central repository for developments in click fraud monitoring, investigation and reparation

Click fraud is the practice of clicking on a competitors pay per click advertisements from search engines such as Google or Yahoo. The purpose of this is two fold. Firstly there is a direct financial cost to the competitors as they have to pay for the click without the benefit of a sale from their e-commerce website. The second outcome of click fraud is to allow a company to get their own pay par clicks higher on the search engines as the competitors advertising budget is wasted on invalid clicks. Click fraud is done either manually or via automated software known as click bots.

Fraudulent Clicks aims to be the premier portal for all developments in click fraud monitoring, investigation and reparation of fees paid out to search engines for invalid clicks.

MMC is a click fraud consultancy offering click fraud monitoring services to companies throughout the EU as well as being the publisher of Fraudulent Clicks.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Industry Experts Warn Job Seekers to Be Careful About Uploading Personal Data to Job Boards

itzbig, whose founders pioneered the use of the Internet as a tool for matching hiring companies with job candidates almost a decade ago, warned job seekers today to be cautious when disclosing personal data on job boards.

itzbig executives Jim Hammock and Hank Stringer suggested that a Symantec report released earlier this week was a proof point. That report revealed that hackers may have gained access to hundreds of thousands of resumes on

This vulnerability is not new as evidenced by a recent story in, which noted that job hunters, who have posted their resume on the industry's most popular job sites "have been getting unusual phone calls that may be the sign of a larger scam."

Hammock and Stringer, the original founders of in the late 1990s, said that both examples suggest a need for the industry to move toward interactive sourcing networks that offer greater privacy controls to users including complete anonymity as well as user-controlled access to personal information.

Hammock said "It is important for internet users to know that when they put their personal data on the web it is all but impossible to retrieve. There are numerous tools that harvest this data and repurpose it for unintended uses. So my first advise is don’t do it."

"The ideal network," said Hammock, "gives job seekers the ability to control their job search in that they determine what personal information they choose to reveal for each respective interaction with an employer or recruiter."

At the same time, Stringer suggested that both would-be employers and job applicants should be able to explore the “fit,” without disclosing their full identity until the last possible moment.

“Privacy and anonymity along with user control are the pillars of the safest, most effective sourcing network,” said Stringer. “The sooner that we have networks that embrace these features, the sooner we’ll have fewer incidents like those mentioned above.”

“The need for secure job exploration has become even more important as currently employed workers have less job security than in the past because of layoffs, mergers, out sourcing, off shoring, and other business practices that have made life time employment a thing of the past. Today everyone needs a safe and secure way to explore a Plan B just in case they become unemployed,” said Hammock.

itzbig offers the following tips to ensure personal data remains secure:

1. Be anonymous where-ever possible.

2. Minimize the amount of personal contact information disclosed at all times.

3. Don’t rely upon job sites to protect your personal information. Only provide your personal data to legitimate employers and recruiters.

4. Make sure the network allows the verification of employer’s identity before submitting personal data such as resume.

5. Do not store your resume on job sites.

6. Use a network that allows you to gauge an employer’s level of interest before submitting your resume.

Networks that incorporate the above tips, such as itzbig, are already in place, and more may be on the horizon, according to Kevin Wheeler, a globally-known speaker, author, columnist and consultant in human capital acquisition and development.


Social Security Numbers a Very Lucrative Commodity to Identity Thieves

A bill is awaiting final approval by the federal government that would prevent companies (and the government itself) from displaying a social security number on documents such as Medicare cards and military identification cards. The law would also prohibit the sale of the numbers (except in limited circumstances) and require the federal government to change their system and generate a different means of identification. Although it appears as though the bill may proceed through Congress and become a law - protecting unassuming consumers, this probably will not be the case.

Michael J. Durnack, identity theft expert and President and CEO of Identity Defense believes the public will be the ones to lose if this bill does not pass.

Identity theft has only played a role in our society in the past fifteen years. The technology industry has given birth to computer hackers and other criminals related to the crime of identity theft. Durnack said, "It's a sad state of affairs that the public needs to be so guarded of their personal information, especially their social security number. It often changes behavior and often ends up being counterproductive. People avoid doing business that would actually help them reduce the risk of having their personal information stolen, such as utilizing online banking services and direct deposit."

Durnack goes on to say, "If, as a citizen of the United States, you feel strongly about the federal government taking action to stem the losses and damaging effects of the crime of identity theft, contact your local legislator and let them know that you support the bill - HR 3046 and want to see the 'STUDY ON FEASIBILITY OF BANNING SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT NUMBERS AS AN AUTHENTICATOR' be carried out as quickly as possible".

Social security numbers are becoming a black market commodity to identity thieves all over the world as they attempt to use stolen identities for criminal activity. A social security number is a key identifier that allows thieves to open credit in another name and have even gone as far as using stolen social security numbers when arrested.

Many businesses and institutions are expected to lobby against this bill, or will try to create an exception to the rules to accommodate them. Companies make big money by selling social security numbers to marketing companies, while the federal government and educational institutions would have to create a new system from scratch for identifying their students/employees/members/etc.

An important first step in the fight against identity theft is something that Durnack and his company, Identity Defense, developed to help consumers educate themselves about the crime of identity theft and what can be done to protect personal information ( Identity Defense has created a proprietary ID risk assessment that categorizes the threat level of an individual's risk to identity theft. When the assigned ID risk level has been determined, personalized recommendations for modifying habits and behaviors to reduce risk are offered with Identity Defense's Customized Personal Report (CPR). The process is simple and gives the consumer control of his personal information.