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You Are Not Who You Say You Are

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A techno-thief says so. Johnny Rivers in 1966 sang about the dangers of being a secret agent man... "Hey we're givin' you a number, and takin' ‘way your name...." Thieves nowadays are taking both your name and your number.

After playing some type of "secret" game as children, and later as authority-questioning young adults, we didn't want "Big Brother" government constantly looking over our shoulder watching every move we make.

Of course, nowadays you know your government can tell you what time it is on your watch - from 150 miles up. Some of you consider that comforting, some of you consider that disconcerting, and still others of you consider that type ability of your government downright disturbing and an invasion of your civil rights and privacy.

We have Homeland Security, the Transportation Safety Association and our military to thank for our protection on land, sea, and in the air; but unknown to you and me, however, are secret hackers, hidden in our digital world and working for the expressed purpose of secretly stealing not only your identity, but your finances and anything else of value that you own, like your name.

According to the Gartner Newsoom, from 2003 to 2007 there was a 50 percent increase in the amount of identity theft crimes in the U.S. The average amount lost was over $3,000 in 2006, up from over $1,400 in 2005.

It has gotten worse. As the fastest-growing white-collar crime in America, the amount of identity theft crimes for individuals and businesses last year totaled over $53 billion affecting one in eight adults. Over 27 seven millions persons were victims over the last five years, and 10 million citizens were victims at a cost of nearly $5 billion dollars last year. With this crime rate now rampant, over 140 million citizens with bank and/or credit cards are now at risk.

The latest James Bond technology uses radio frequency identification - RFID - to do thieves' dirty work. RFID technology is supposed to make things easier and faster for you to pay on or offline, but it also makes it easier and faster for techno-thieves to gain access to your financial records, status, and your name.

A credit-card reader that can be purchased online, the device looks like a woman's purse - didn't all of 007′s devices prove deceptive? Armed with this new device, credit card hackers - who normally use internet auctions, insecure money transmittal systems and scams along with an imaginative ability to impersonate lottery and sweepstakes-winning contests - don't work like pick-pockets.

Without touching you, "swackers" work best in a crowd, obviously the thicker the better. They swipe your purse or wallet as you walk pass, or beside them. Concerts, mass transportation crowds, long lines at airports, train stations, and bus depots gives swackers ample opportunity to steal your name and number without any actual physical contact.

The device reads your card the same way the credit card device does at the store, only this time you've "bought" items you know you didn't pay for, and your name is used for a whole lot more: new credit card accounts; rental and employment information; social security information; medical records and fraud. US Passports that have been issued since 2006 contain the RFID chip; making your passport another easy target for thieves.

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