Identity theft we are told is where people with malicious intent get access to personal information that would allow them to impersonate you. Information such as credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, amongst other key personal identifiers. This type of story often hits the headlines in the papers or online computer security portals when another online database is discovered to have been hacked. There is a great hue and cry over the latest threat to our personal information.
Is this a legitimate concern or is it another one of those Internet myths? Well there are documented instances of ill gotten database information being used by organized crime. Information such as the aforementioned credit card numbers. These are quickly jacked up by buying goods, and then discarded it seems. That is indeed one concrete piece of evidence that personal identity theft is an issue. Are there any others though? None that I can think of offhand really.
My wife was the victim of identity theft but of a more mundane type. She had her bank card information scanned into a phony setup, and also had her PIN number captured by what is assumed to be a well placed mirror. This was quickly brough to the attention of our bank, who then promptly took over the case. In reality for us this was a minor incovenience but was of course of greater concern to the bank.
To sum up, my feelings are rather ambivalent over the whole identity theft situation. I certainly don’t think it has reached epidemic proportions, yet it is a real problem. Perhaps one cure is to heavily penalize companies who have their database breached. No system is perfect, but at least better protection would certainly help. Well maybe not heavy fines, but at least require certain levels of safeguards be in place.
Any of you have some thoughts on this, or been directly affected by identity theft?