Computer Identity Theft
Computer Identity Theft
The article “Refurbished Phones Pose Identity Theft Risk” talks about how carelessness and curiosity ended up intertwining 3 lives because of information left inside 2 cellular phones - Computer Identity Theft introduction. How ironic that in this era of privacy invasions, there are a lot of careless people around who do not seem to take care of nor hide his or her personal information. As a civilization, we continue to march proudly into the 21st century. We meet all the challenges presented to us headlong and seem to accomplish all our tasks with the simplest of ease. The ease with which we accomplish these tasks is made possible by our reliance on technology. It all started with the invention of the computer. In the beginning, it took one whole room to house a basic computer. Eventually, man found a way to make the parts smaller and got the Personal Computer out of the room and onto a desktop, that became a laptop, and quite recently, evolved into a hand held computer. We trust these pocket-sized computers to run our lives. We input all our personal data — from your parent’s birthdays to your tax identification number into the contraption that we have with us 24 hours a day 7 days a week because it is convenient to do so.
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Unfortunately, it is this reliance that is causing the violation of our privacy and stealing of identities. As our technological requirements increase, the more privacy we lose because we tend to forget that information electronically stored is hard to erase. Even when we think it is erased, it is really just floating around in cyberspace or inside an unknown temporary storage folder in your handheld device, waiting to be resurrected from the electronic grave. When this happens, unscrupulous characters take the information they can get on a person and use his identity for his own personal gains. The minute he poses as the original owner of the hand held device, he is considered to have stolen another’s person’s identity and has in fact committed a grievous crime against the original owner.
This is why; we must always be on the alert when disposing of our old model PDA’s and cellular phones. Not everyone knows how to properly delete the memory chip of these devices, and in the cases of the earliest models, there is no memory chip to delete and reformat. The number one rule of safety against Computer Identity theft is simply to not store any important information or codes in your cellphone. This is simply asking for trouble as these hand held devices can easily be misplaced or stolen. Your PDA should be an extension of your body, wear it like a necklace if you must, just make sure that it is always attached to your person so be sure that there can be no chance for anybody to violate your privacy.
It has become a norm for other people to inherit a friend or a relative’s old PDA or cellphone when the current user upgrades to a newer hip model. If one must do this, make sure to run the proper deleting protocol on the memory chip of the item you are giving away. If you are the kind of person who likes to sell his old stuff on Ebay, make sure to keep the original memory chip for yourself. You can always sell the item sans a memory chip at a bargain price. Giving your original memory chip to a complete stranger is simply a dumb move to make. It is no joke to have your identity stolen in this day and age. It could mean loss of income, credit line, divulging of top secret office information and possibly a lawsuit for an innocent person. A really intent hacker can retrieve the information and cause the momentary lapse in judgement could have a lifetime of repercussions for a person.
It is possible to prevent computer identity theft. The problem is that most people don’t want to be bothered to erase their electronic tracks. It must become second nature for everyone to delete personal information from PDA devices. Only after we learn to care about protecting our personal and important information will ways and means of controlling the rampant computer identity theft cease to be a futile exercise.
Michael Finney. Refurbished Phones Pose Identity Theft Risk. AbcNews.com. November 29, 2006. Retrieved December 12, 2006 from http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=7on_your_side&id=4808219