Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Protecting your "identity"

Folks, a reader sent me an e-mail this morning which reminded me to tell you about a website that has caught the media’s attention.

My ID Score is a free public service that gives you a new way to quickly assess your risk of identity theft.

Get Real-Time Insight Into Your Risk of Identity Theft
My ID Score is a quick, easy, and free way to assess the risk that your identity is being misused. It can be an essential fraud detection and early-warning tool for consumers who are concerned about identity theft.”

How it works is, you go to this site and provide some information about yourself (it asks for your SSN, but this is optional) and then asks a series of questions, to uniquely identify you. Then it “calculates identity risk by looking at the use of billions of identity elements like name, Social Security number, phone number, date of birth, and address across multiple industries” …

“My ID Score leverages time–tested, patented technologies that identify suspicious or unusual relationships among billions of basic identity elements within the ID Network® — the nation’s only real–time, cross–industry compilation of identity information.”

… and then gives you a “score” indicating how likely it is that your identity can be stolen.

I was pleased to see that the website uses encryption, but I declined to provide any more than the minimum required information. My score result was “low”.

Which is reassuring but, seems to me to be of dubious value. Does this mean I can relax, and not worry about ID Theft? (Snort) Nearly 10 million people have reported identity theft in the U.S. in the last 12 months. (and many are unaware of this, as their SSN’s are being used by illegal immigrants for employment, and not bank fraud).

The fact is, the more you do online, the more ways Evil Doers can get you. (Take this quiz to assess your risk: Norton Online Risk Calculator.)

Prevention is the best medicine. Keeping your machine patched and protected is Step 1. I have provided readers the basic “common good practices” in what I call my “Top 10 Things You Should Do” list.

Use “paranoid common sense” online, and be reluctant to provide PII (personally identifiable information). When some site asks me about me? Usually I lie, (I say I was born in 1990, for example. It makes me “over 18”.) and use a disposable e-mail.

Review the following websites for additional recommendations on how to proactively protect your identity:

You may also want to consider investing in an ID “protection service, such as, LifeLock.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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August 14, 2010 - Posted by | computers, how to, Internet, security, tech

8 Comments »

  1. TechPaul,

    Was just conversing with a friend this evening whose husband had passed away. Within weeks after his passing his identity was stolen and the source appears to be his past online activities.

    Great work there my friend!

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | August 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      What a horrible story.

      Just what every new widow needs, right? What a world!

      My condolences to your friend.

      … What a simply depressing story …

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks for sharing….Very important to be safe while online.

    Like

    Comment by ms | August 15, 2010 | Reply

    • ms,
      In this day and age, it is very important, yes. I am glad you found the information useful.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hey Paul,
    Great article… Loads of info.
    So bad this service is only available for US residents (afaik) only! :-/

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | August 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Nice to see your name here again.

      I know from prior comments that you are a bit more savvy than the “average computer user”, and that security is an interest. The resources (links) provided give “best practices” and how to’s that can be applied by everyone.

      Apparently nobody’s interested, as not one link was clicked even once. I guess because I didn’t put “sensation” or “American Idol” in the article…

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. Thanks for sharing this info with us…. its really very helpful….. i am a frequent online shopper and i came to know last month that someone stole my identity via internet and abusing… i was so afraid … then a friend gave me this link… [deleted] – and m glad that i used them… they were a great help!!!

    Like

    Comment by Janet Olson | August 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Janet,
      Thank you for sharing.

      Folks, Janet included a link to what I assume was a company that provides the service of helping people recover from ID Theft. I think you should be aware that such things exist, but … The Dept. of Justice page has (link above) a section on “what to do if you are a victim of identity theft” that I would consult first. And I would talk to my bank manager.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 17, 2010 | Reply


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