Identity Theft Irs Warns Public About Email Scams A Basic Guide To Internet Security Where Spyware Lurks On The Internet 10 Tell Tale Signs Of Spyware And Adware Infection Identity Theft Basics
The IRS has been the subject of an email scam campaign. They are informing the public to be on the lookout for email indicating they are coming from the Agency. Since the IRS does not send unsolicited emails asking for your personal information, you must assume these emails are written to trick you into giving out financial and personal information you should not be disclosing to the public.
The IRS has noticed an increase in the number of scams. Since November 99 scams have been identified. During the tax filing season, forty were identified. In June an additional twenty surfaced. Many are originating outside of the United States. Some of the countries are Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, England, Japan, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and Slovakia. Some have come from the United States.
The IRS will not send you an email requesting personal information of any kind. They won’t try to trick you into disclosing bank account numbers, pin numbers, or credit card information. Since this information can be used for identity theft, you must be aware of everything you do on and offline.
If you give out your personal information, it can then be used to steal your identity and perhaps your financial assets. The IRS has established an email box for you to send suspicious email you receive which appears to have come from the IRS. The email address is : firstname.lastname@example.org. The IRS will investigate your email to determine if it fits into the scam category.
The internet is a wonderful place; many of us use it on a regular basis for a multitude of functions. Email helps us to keep in touch with family, and friends all over the world and most people have at least one email account. The growing use of digital cameras and camera phones means that we can send pictures at the click of a mouse. MP3 players have become increasingly popular, and we can download songs to play on them with extreme ease. All of this is great, and the internet is becoming a big part of our everyday lives.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to all of this increased use of the internet. That is the growth of the spread of viruses and other so-called ‘malware’. Originally, internet hackers were satisfied keeping their attentions focussed on government and business websites, and their viruses were intended to attack corporations. Most hackers saw this as a challenge. However, there is now an increasing trend towards home computer users being targeted by these attacks. The amount of damage that can be caused by a virus varies, but there are a number of easy steps that a person can take to help increase their internet security.
The first step to keeping your computer free from viruses is to have up-to-date antivirus software running on your computer. You need to make regular checks to ensure that your software is updated, and to scan your entire computer for viruses. There are a number of cheap, and free antivirus software programs available that provide excellent protection. You can find these by searching through your search engine for antivirus software.
The next step to maintain your internet security is to be extremely cautious about the type of files that you open, or download. The majority of viruses are actually spread through email attachments. Having these on your computer, in your inbox, is not the danger; the real danger is when you open the attachment. It may not be obvious that anything has happened when you first open the attachment containing the virus, quite often they appear blank. The damage is caused by the program that is activated within the attachment. If you do not know, and trust, the person who has sent you the attachment then delete the email.
Spyware has to be the most talked about PC security threat of 2005. It has now surpassed the computer virus as the No. 1 menace to computer user both at home and in the enterprise. Despite efforts from Microsoft and independent security software companies, the spyware menace is set to continue through 2006 and beyond. The research firm Radicati Group expect worldwide anti-spyware revenue to surpass $1 billion by 2010.
There are numerous types of spyware with some more dangerous than others. At one end of the spectrum spyware pushes annoying ads to your computer as is usually referred as “Adware.” It is still spyware as the ads are generally pushed to you based on your surfing habits. A bad infection can also dramatically impact your computer’s performance as your desktop slowly gets overwhelmed with pop up adverts.
At the other end of the spectrum spyware programs can record what you do on your computer including individual key strokes. This information is then shared with a third party. This data is then sold to marketing companies or used to profit from. For example, the program may have captured your bank log-in details or credit card information.
Profit from these activities drives spyware development and deployment. According to anti-spyware vendor Webroot Inc advertising revenue generated from spyware is much more lucrative than trying to generate profit through Spam Email.
Here are the common ways spyware gets onto your computer:
Though there are no warning signs to indicate that spyware or adware is being installed on your system, there are several tell tale signs to alert you of their presence, once they install. I have compiled here for your convinence 10 tell tale signs that can warn you of the presence of adware or spyware on your computer. Here they are.
1. Browser change:
Frequent, unauthorized changes in your browser landing page or homepage should be a warning sign that something is going on with your computer. Your home page is the first page that you come to when you log on to your internet account.Very often, this page is the home page of your Internet Service provider (ISP), except if you changed it. If you find your home page changing frequently to pages that you do not know, there is a good chance that your system is infected by spyware or adware.
2. Busy system or modem light:
A lighted system or modem indicator is a sign of on going activity. If you are not online using your computer, the modem indicator should not come alive. A flickering modem light when no one is online is a good indication that something is going on with your computer.
3. Influx of unwanted emails:
Everyone gets a certain amount of junk mail everyday. However, a sudden spike in the number of unwanted email to your computer should be a cause for investigation. There might be sypware working behind closed doors in your computer.
4. System slow down:
Have you noticed how your speed demon suddenly slowed down to a crawl like an old witch? If it is taking more time to launch your applications and even longer to load web pages, if your Windows xp or 2000 Task manager on launch indicates almost all available resource in use, you might be dealing with a case of spyware activity.
5. Unwanted redirects:
Spyware and adware have the ability to redirect your search to web sites or pages of the choosing of the program owners. If youend up at sites and webpages that you did not search for, there is a good chance that you are being redirected by the unseen hands of spyware and adware owners.
6. Intrussive banners:
Some spyware open up your browser for an avalanche of banner displays. Very often, these banners are hard to close. A lot of times, they are replaced as quickly as you close them. Sometimes the banners are so plenty, they overwhelm your system resources.
7. Unwanted pop-ups:
Pop-ups when properly used, are a good resource to have on the web. They are used by responsible marketers to direct you to additional resources. However, pop-ups can be abused by aggressive advertisers through the use of adware or spyware. Disregarding professional marketing and advertising ethics aggressive advertisers employ adware and spyware scripts to spam your browser with unwanted and sometimes illicit offers.
Another variation is the use of personalized pop-ups. When you begin to receive multiple pop ups with your name on them, that is an idication that someone is spying on you with spyware.
8. Unknow 900 numbers:
900 number are not very common. They usually carry a charge for access. Have you noticed a spike in your phone bill with charges to 900 numbers that you do not know? You might have been spied on a spyware program owner. It is believed that spyware and adware are responsible to a certain percentage of the identity theft crime that we see and hear about often today.
9. Foreign entries in your favorite folder:
If you all of a sudden begin to see foreign items in your favorite folder, be warned. There is a good chance that someone has caused those items to appear there. It is suggested that you check your favorite folder frequently and delete unfamiliar entries.
10. Additional browser toolbars:
The presence of a toolbar that you did not install on your system, may well be another tell tale sign of spyware presence.
The average Internet user does not ordinarily fool around with toolbars. Most people are satisfied with the Internet Explorer, Yahoo and may be Google toolbars. If a toolbar looks unfamiliar to you, it probably is and should be investigated and possibly removed.
Finally, there are times when it may seem all is well. Do not rest of your oars. A good rule of thumb for living on the internet is to do your due dilligence. Be proactive. Deploy some security systems and scan your computer frequently as some spywares and adwares
operate in stealth.
Your system is your investment. Protect it.
Identity theft is one of the latest buzzword within our society in recent times. Identity theft refers to hiding one’s original identity and illegally misusing someone else’s identity. The person pretending to be someone else tries to make money at the cost of others and makes an abusive use of fake identity. The occurrence of this form of crime has increased partly due to the expansion in our communication network where people interact or know about only the existence of other person but have not met them person. Since one does not recognize the other person by physical appearance it is easier for identity thieves to step into others shoe and gather vital information for their own selfish motives. Identity theft can also occur from distance when someone may call or communicate with any other person just to gather some confidential information and then misuse the data provided.
Emergence of Internet apart from providing many facilities and being a blessing for people has also added a lot to this already existing crime.
With more and more business houses using Internet and computerized networks for their official workings increased amount of significant data are now found on web. Apart from the obtaining vital statistics of any corporate house or any important individual information, identity thieves do disguise to fool others and obtain some critical information like the credit card number or the social security number. Theft of credit card number and social security number can result in a great loss and trauma for the victim. As the culprit could use the credit card for withdrawing money from others account and also the crimes committed by the thief can be attributed to the victim since the thief was using a fake identity of other person.
This increasing form of crime has raised concern of many and people are now finding ways to combat such malicious actions that cause loss to innocent citizens. Apart from following the general instructions and relying on social systems to prevent such crimes certain individual effort is also required to protect one from identity thieves. One must be cautious not to provide any confidential information on Internet or any other public communication systems that can be accessed by anyone. Only after perfectly confirmed verification some information may be shared if it’s very urgent. Also one should not rely on anyone else without careful verification of the identity of the other person.
It’s a matter of great regret that such identity thieves many a times bank upon the sentiments of good citizens and fool them to make some easy money. Many such cases of false identity have been reported in recent past where people pretend to be someone in great need of help and when some virtuous person comes forward to help them they just breach others and make personal profits at the expense of others.
Recently when the world was struck by an unfortunate natural disaster of tsunami help from entire world poured in through all means. Government organizations of countries struck by this calamity had set websites to make people aware of the damages incurred and collect help from them if they could contribute to the well-being of victims. Following the genuine websites many fraudulent websites were also hosted at the same time to bank upon people’s sentiments for personal interests. Such incidents and many others make it a moral responsibility of every citizen to come forward and assist in curbing this social crime..
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