Separating Myth from the Reality of ID theft

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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CNet has this article that should be read. It puts into perspective some of the realities of Identity Theft. …”Widespread media reports have given rise to much misinformation and confusion around the issue. Many people believe that banking or buying online increases the risk, for example, though the chances of fraud are far greater in the brick-and-mortar world.” For years I have said that buying online is far safer then making your purchases in person. The best example I’ve heard on this was presented by Eric Cole at a SANS conference. Eric unfolded the following two scenarios:
Scenario One: You log onto a known web site and shop making several selections. You go to pay for your purchases where you enter your information into an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protected page. You submit your order and purchasing information via an SSL connection. Done. No one between your computer and the merchant can see your information.
Scenario Two: You go out to eat at a restaurant. When you are through you hand your credit card to your waiter/waitress who you only met upon being seated. The waiter/waitress then takes your card out of the room for 1-10 minutes during which time you have no idea where they or your card are. When they return with your card you review it and sign the payment slip. THEN you proceed to get up and leave (normal after paying!), leaving the signed receipt on the table in a room with numerous strangers whom you do not know. On the receipt you left on the table is typically, your credit card number, signature and other identifying information.
So when you examine the problem this way you begin to see it is much safer to purchase something online then say in a restaurant! Read the article they give better coverage to the details of this topic…

Identity thieves target college financial aid money

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Identity thieves target college aid money. Financial-aid identity theft is “a growing area of concern,” said Natalie Forbort, special agent in charge at the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Inspector General, which investigates all types of financial-aid fraud. The crime is particularly vexing for victims, whose first indication they’ve been targeted may be when their own student-aid request is turned down or when they are refused another type of loan over a default they know nothing about. The increasingly electronic world of financial aid helps identity thieves stay anonymous, Fortbort said. “They’re applying online for financial aid, enrolling online, they stay enrolled for 30 days and then move on,” said Fortbort. Often, thieves target community colleges, where tuition is cheap, thus leaving more money to line their own pockets. Thanks to the advent of online classes, thieves can steal money “in several states because of the fact they don’t physically have to be in school,” Forbort said. “The schools do not want to make someone come in … it defeats the purpose of distance education,” said Fortbort.
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Greensboro,NC,USA

Sensei Posted in Announcements & Press Releases
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Martial Arts Events and Classes in the Greensboro, NC, USA area Scroll down to the Martial Arts section.

Positive People Day?!

Sensei Posted in Announcements & Press Releases, Events & Holidays, News
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I’ve just seen the most bizarre commercial that I had to run to the computer and see if it was real or not. While this iUnderDog!s not really related to the Martial Arts it had to be shared! The web site, VictoryOverViolence.org is calling today ‘Positive People Day’. They make the following suggestions for today…

On Positive People Day, October 29th, reach out to others with simple acts of kindness:
[ ] Smile (often)
[ ] Give a hug
[ ] Thank someone
[ ] Pay an unexpected compliment
[ ] Share a laugh or a kind word
[ ] Call your mother or a loved one

Now I think the idea is pretty good, though a little over the top, their commercial is whacked! If you dig a little further you start to get the feeling something isn’t right. Seems the focus of the site is to sell this book though it does say that all the proceeds will benefit the victoryoverviolence.org movement. Well if they say it, it must be true! It is important to note that this group IS NOT with the known legitimate Victory Over Violence group (VoV.com). While I’m not making a judgement call here, one does seem more legitimate then the other, but if you want the book I guess it doesn’t matter! If you want to support a group against violence, then I would urge you to support the real Victory Over Violence group, (VoV.com).

ALERT: They want your whole life

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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London,England,UK
What did you say your name was? Really? It’s just that there is someone about to board a flight at Heathrow with exactly the same name on their passport. They also have a driving licence with your details on it. And a couple of credit cards, a phone contract, a sports car bought on the never-never, dozens of store accounts and a whopping great loan, all taken out in your name. Not just the same name (this is no coincidence) but your actual full name, with your date and place of birth.
You didn’t know? Well, how could you? No money has gone missing from your accounts, but your personal details and reputation have been used to run up a series of debts totalling more than £100,000. Your credit rating is in tatters, so don’t bother asking for a loan ever again. Meanwhile, the fake you is flying off to the sun, to vanish. Oh, was that a knock on the door? More like a hammering, actually. Must be the bailiffs….
This is a well written article that should give everyone pause to think. With 120,000 people in England alone having their Identity stolen last year don’t you think you should be a little concerned? Do you know someone who has suffered from Identity Theft? Post your experiences or thoughts about the topic here!

10 Year old Instructor…Local Karate Kid!

Sensei Posted in News, Profiles
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Sycamore,IL,USA

Dana HienbucherDana Hienbucher is not the average 10 year old girl, however she is the first to receive certification as a Junior Martial Arts Instructor at the Karate Institute in DeKalb, IL, USA. The program began a year and a half ago with ten eligible students, Dana is the first certified. While not the same as becoming a certified sensei the program is described as “stringent”. Junior Instructors do not have their own classes but does help with teaching lower belt rank students. To become certified as a junior instructor, Dana had to reach the level of brown belt, spend a year assisting with lower-belt classes and training first-time tournament competitors, and provide letters of recommendation from her parents and teachers. She also had to join the Professional Karate Commission, one of three professional groups she’s involved in. Dana who began practicing Karate three years ago also has 49 trophies to her credit.

Wow! While I think this is great I have my reservations, perhaps because of the title “Junior Instructor”. Before I open pandora’s box let me say this…Kids do great in the martial arts, it is good for their development into confident and compassionate human beings with the correct instructors and environment (home life). But from my perspective I have never put merit in the “Junior” rankings/belts and now certifications. Why? They are false. What? False, because they instill a sense of false reality for the child. Children because of a lack of experience and maturity often do not realize the differences in their abilities and those of an unknown adult. I say unknown because hopefully they have matched their skills against other adults in their club. This localized experience however does not spill over to non-club members because the child doesn’t judge a stranger as a fellow martial artist or is simply over confident. This is demonstrated by Dana’s own words…she said. “And you never know, someday some bully or bad guy might try to hurt you, and you need to know how to defend yourself.”…Some bad guy. While I agree that she and every child should know how to defend themselves, we as a martial arts community must be careful not to create a false reality around our youth so that they will not place themselves in a dangerous situation. Think of it this way, of you raised you child to swim in the bathtub and told them every day what an awesome swimmer they are, do you think they would have the appropriate level of caution when they encounter their first pool? And what if they are alone or with their peers at the time?
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Ninja Billy’s – Impromptu lesson

Sensei Posted in Entertainment, For Kids, Fun Stuff,Tags: , ,
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Impromptu Lesson

 

Trinidad and Tobago national jailed in NY for identity theft

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Shiva Brent Sharma

Trinidad and Tobago national Shiva Brent Sharma has been jailed for two to four years by a New York State judge after pleading guilty to a series of identity theft offences. Sharma, 20, used the Internet to steal personal identification information, which he used to make fraudulent purchases and cash withdrawals. He stole more than $450,000. Sharma ended up in jail for his third fraud-related offense, the first dating back to 2002. He was jailed on Wednesday.
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Georgia Agency Warns of Identity Theft

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Asif Siddiqui

The state of Georgia is sending letters to 465,000 drivers and state employees, warning that they may be at risk for identity theft. While there is no evidence that anyone’s been defrauded, a computer programmer and former state employee Asif Siddiqui is accused of downloading drivers’ license records and state employee health benefit records onto his home computer. Asif use to work on these system, was no longer assigned to them but was discovered to still be accessing them. Mark Reardon of the Georgia Technology Authority says the person who was accessing the Technology Authority computers at the Twin Towers office building in downtown Atlanta downloaded information from database that are three years old, including social security numbers, dates of birth and mailing addresses from 2002. The Georgia Technology Authority has set up a special section on its website for possible victims of ID theft.
If your personal data was accessed, you’ll receive one of the letters from the state advising you to take precautions.
– Monitor your banking and credit accounts, to look for any unauthorized charges.
– Request and review your free, personal credit report.
– Consider placing a “fraud alert” on your credit file, to prevent the creation of new accounts without your permission.
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Identity theft prosecuted at three levels

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Ogden,UT,USA — An identity theft case that began when a cashier spotted a bogus check could be prosecuted at one of three levels (the county prosecutor’s office, the State Attorney General’s Office, or the U.S. Attorney’s Office) depending on how the suspect obtained her funds. The suspect a Murray woman used several names, including her sister’s, to cash checks to the tune of $10,000 in 15 Smith’s Food & Drug Centers from Herriman to Logan.
The Utah Identity Theft Task Force, organized by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, has prosecuted 186 cases since last November, the majority involved stolen mail. Counties generally refer cases involving bank fraud to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. A recent case underscores the seriousness of Identity Theft where Matthew Rodney Page recently admitted in federal court to stealing identities to get loans and open credit card accounts. Page, who does not have a criminal history, spent nearly $50,000 and almost ruined the credit of a man with a similar name. Page pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and bank fraud. A minimum sentence of two years in Federal Prison is mandated by law when a defendent admits to or is found guilty of stealing an identity.
In many of these cases there was little the victims could do to protect themselves. This isn’t to say that all identity theft victims were helpless to at least limit their exposure. One of the primary was to limit exposre is to NOT use your mailbox and to shread all your ‘junk’ mail. There is a certain inconvience and expense involved in taking these steps so it is important that you weigh the pros and cons. There is technology available that can help to secure your mailbox thereby limiting or at least alerting you if someone tampers with your mail. Like most self-defense steps they rarely seem worth it because you don’t see a threat yet. Just like self-defense skills you will wish they are available when a threat does appear!
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