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Monday, September 2, 2013

Here we will be talking about identity theft and what is mean for a mortal being like you and me. There's an old joke by the Cuban humorist Alvarez Guedez already died. There are two Cubans in Miami and one says to the other. Hey, what a surprise, but tell me, how did you leave Cuba? And the other replies: easy, man, with a passport from a friend. And the other ask: And how did your friend? To which he answer: well, I don’t know, he must be there like mad looking for that passport. A funny case of identity theft.

  • Identity Theft

    Identity theft is a form of aggression by which one person (the running theft) pretends to be someone (the aggrieved person) with the aim to misuse economic resources, prestige, score credit, knowledge or other benefits, on behalf of the person suffering the attack.

    The victim of the assault may suffer serious harm and adverse consequences depending on the offensive used by the identity theft. Economic damages are due because the perpetrator tries to use the assets of the aggrieved person, taking advantage of these to her advantage. However, there are not only economic damages the aggrieved person could suffer. In many cases, damage to the reputation, prestige, good credit rating and rights of authorship may even be more serious, from the point of view of the person aggrieved, than the possible loss of some money.

    For example, a very common reason of identity theft is to seize personal identification, name and identification documents, credit, debit or discount cards, transport vehicles, passport, driving license, bank books, checkbooks, etc., without permission of the victim, in order to commit fraud or other crimes.

    When you look at the statistics of this type of criminal act, which in fact are far from reliable since in most cases acts are not reported, it is impressive to see how these events occur between same social circle of the victim. Often it is someone around who commits the crime, in most cases people who work for the victim and, in not less cases, even her own family.

    To find the relationship between the thing stolen and the offender is not easy, in most cases because the victim often does not know or envision how her personal information was obtained, ie what mechanisms or actions have been used to access her personal information.

    Moreover, in many cases we have to recognize that identity fraud, that is, use an individual's personal information to commit fraud, it is not always the immediate result of identity theft. A person can steal the identity of another person and not necessarily commit fraud, and indeed in many cases it is, as often happens when someone uses the name of another simply because it feels pleasure in supplant the other person, as with artists, politicians, musician and people with excellent professional credentials.

    The joke about the Cubans that I told you at the beginnig of this article is a typical phishing case without the direct target for fraud, but with immense harm to the victim.

  • What is the likelihood of becoming victims of identity theft?

    Although in most cases statistics do not help because many crimes are not even registered, based on existing statistics the likelihood of an act of identity theft is on the order of 2%, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University. Of course, the problem with this assertion is that is based on cases reported. What tells us that certainty is very valid to think that this rate is still much higher.

    With advancement of technology and expansion of telecommunications via Internet we presume that this type of crime will become more and more frequent. A security specialist named Gunter Ollmann found an advertising in Internet that said little more or less: "Are you interested in stealing credit cards? You are in the right place. We have an application for you to do that." Amazing, isn'it?

    Another example is a computer program circulating the Internet called Zeus. The program appears to be simple to use and any inexperienced person could. But while one of its features is the ease of use, another is how devastating it can be on a unnoticed user's computer. Zeus can steal the information from your credit cards, important documents and even key documents that compromise security of your home and transmit them in the blink of an eye to the criminal that installed it on your computer. Something very simple when we surf Internet without paying attention to the places we visited and clicking in response to a subtle invitation.

    Sex sites which offer recreate the view by simply clicking an appealing button is one of the mechanisms used by identity theft criminals to install unauthorized programs like Zeus on your computer, while you are distracted looking at things that you should avoid looking.

    Another joke this time of two friends who were spying on the wife of another, who used to undress in front of a window facing a backyard. They made a hole in a wall and through this they spy to the woman. But one day the husband discovered the hole. He then wait on the other side with a baseball bat. When the first poked his head he gave him a hit breaking their teeth. The man stand up highly surprised but covering his mouth and the other friend asks: What happened, did you see anything? And this responds, yes, of course, but what I saw is so funny, ja, ja, have a look for yourself and enjoy for a while.

Header Image is a courtesy of Gwinnet Business Journal.