THE TRUTH ABOUT IDENTITY THEFT

“The Truth about Identity Theft,”  by Jim Stickley, (around $14 from Amazon.com), reads like a good mystery novel. Stickley has hacked social security numbers, robbed banks, and created fake credit cards. But he’s not a criminal. He’s a regular on the Today Show, and has been hired to show companies how to guard against having their customer’s credit information stolen.

One of the best things about the book is how it’s organized. You can thumb through it while reading the headlines in the right-hand margin, stopping only on the pages that interest you. Here are some that caughtour attention: “Hotel business centers can be treacherous.” And: “Being dead doesn’t protect you from identity theft.” And don’t forget “Fake credit card applications.”

It turns out that half the hotel business centers the author frequented had key loggers installed on their computers. That meant that all keystrokes were being recorded, including your password info and other sensitive data. He advises that you never use a hotel computer for email.

He is also concerned about people who use a Bluetooth hands-free device to talk on their cell phones. It’s not just that they look funny walking down the street talking to themselves. It’s that many of these phones have a “pairing” feature that is always on, allowing anyone nearby to listen to the calls.  If your device doesn’t have what’s called “manual pairing,” he suggests leaving your phone off until you make a call.

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