Who Do You Think Is Going To Steal Your Identity?

When people think about identity theft and identity thieves, they usually have some pre-conceived notions about what identity thieves look like and how they operate.

If you go out and ask a few people what they picture in their minds when you say the word “identity thief,” you’ll probably get a wide variety of responses.

Some people picture identity thieves as lone hackers, sitting in their mother’s basement and typing away at a keyboard, stealing credit card numbers off the internet.

Other people imagine someone standing at a stranger’s mailbox, riffling through mail, looking for pre-approved credit card offers.

While those scenarios do happen (quite often, in fact), they’re not the only threat to people concerned about the security of their financial identity.

Law Enforcement officers are well aware of another, much more dangerous type of identity thief – the type that works with multiple partners. I’m talking about identity theft rings.

Much like shoplifting rings, identity theft rings operate in large groups, roaming throughout the country in search of a market that hasn’t been hit for awhile.

Once an identity theft ring identifies a market, sometimes through the use of scouts, sometimes just by showing up one day, taking a look around and seeing a few easy marks, they can set up shop quickly.

These identity theft rings, who often consist of 5 to 10 people working in conjunction, strategically target high-income individuals. This is a tried-and-true tactic which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense. After all, why would an identity thief risk stealing from people with low credit scores – and low credit limits?

So how does an identity theft ring identify potential victims?

Usually scouts for the group will look for and look into people or groups of people who display indicators of a high income.

Expensive subdivisions are driven through, often while they are under construction. Office building parking lots are staked out, with the best cars being followed home at the end of the day. Gym parking lots are watched and cars glanced into when the individual has gone inside the building and is working out.

In other cases, scouts for the identity theft ring will look into groups of individuals whose personal information has proven to be fairly easy to gather. College professors, teachers, government employees and real estate brokers fall into this category.

With either kind of groups targeted, the identity theft ring then uses an information broker to get the Social Security Numbers of their selected targets. This is usually a simple thing for information brokers to do, as they have access to credit bureau files and just run the names through their databases using what’s called a “national identifier search.” While this is strictly an illegal use of these credit bureau files, there are more than enough corrupt information brokers out there who are perfectly willing to make a few bucks on the side and do this for identity thieves who make it worth their while.

Now, identity theft rings do not want problems to pop up with any of the numbers they buy. If one individual’s Social Security number is found to be less than readily available to the information broker, or if there are flags on the account from a identity theft prevention service, those names are dropped off the list of targets. Usually there are very few names whose files fall into that category, however, and identity thieves are rarely inconvenienced by having large numbers of people using that service. There are hundreds of millions of unprotected people out there, and criminals like to go after low-hanging fruit.

Once the Social Security numbers have been procured, the identity theft ring will then go into overdrive, applying for credit cards, loans, lines of credit and checking accounts – all using the names and Social Security numbers of their pre-selected targets. Those credit card applications, credit cards, and checking account applications are usually mailed to a small apartment or PO box that had been rented as soon as the identity theft ring members got into town.

In what may be a surprisingly short amount of time to you or I, but a completely expected amount of time to professional identity thieves, credit cards and blank checks will begin to show up at the identity thieves’ apartment or at that Post Office box.

As fast as those credit cards and blank checks come in, they go out, in the hands of identity theft ring members whose work consists of buying expensive merchandise – usually computer equipment, jewelry and consumer electronics such as game consoles. Spending cash is obtained by the thieves who hit ATM’s and cash bad checks.

Usually, by the end of the day, there are literally piles of merchandise sitting on the floor, ready to be sold to area fences, at flea markets or to pawn shops.

Within a few weeks, before the new credit card bills start to arrive and before the checks start to bounce, the identity theft ring will sell everything, pack up their tools, and leave town – looking for their next target city and their next group of identity theft victims.

They leave behind them financial disaster.

People whose credit has been perfect (up until now) are now faced with many, many man-hours of work on the phone with credit card companies, businesses in the area and banks who all want to be paid. The police are usually called and time has to be spent with them, clearing things up. Credit bureaus, who report what they’re told to report by the companies who are their customers, are always slow in fixing what was reported erroneously.

Meanwhile, the people who use identity theft prevention services are completely unaware that any of this is going on, unless they see it in the news. All because their names were crossed off the identity thieves’ list at the very beginning of the selection process.

The best way to protect yourself against something is to learn as much as you can about it and do the work yourself.

For those of us who don’t have the time to do that, the next best thing to do is to hire someone who makes it their business to know what we don’t.

You hire a doctor to heal you.

You hire lawyers to defend you.

For just $10 a month or so, you can hire an identity theft prevention service to protect your financial identity from those who would steal it, use it and ruin it.

Best Forex Brokers Search, A Guide To Select A Top Forex Broker

Quest For The Best Forex Broker

Let’s face the reality. Everybody is in business to make money, including the brokers. There are mainly two types of brokers. Dealing desk and non dealing desk. An important fact to know when you trade is, in a dealing desk environment there are hardly any win-win situation. So called top forex brokers may even be trading against you.

Now the question arises, how to find genuine non dealing desk brokers? Simple. Go find ECN brokers. Although it sounds simple, there are few considerations surrounding it too. e.g. ECN environment may not be offered with smaller accounts such as ‘micro’ or even with ‘standard’ accounts below a certain deposit margin. So if you want a real ECN broker, low minimum deposits may not be an option.

It’s also true that some brokers not only may trade against you, but also send fake spikes and dips in rates to terminate your open profitable trades. This is a dirty tactic utilized by few so called “best forex brokers” in order to capitalize on the unsuspecting novice traders’ innocence.

Forex is the most dynamic financial market in the world. Its so dynamic that there are no central regulating body to endorse rates and tick data. While this very phenomena has been the back bone of forex, some brokers misuse it against their clients to manipulate market conditions and trends, simply because the average trader cannot verify the authenticity of the chart data provided by the broker. Do you still think yours is the best forex broker in the market?

Real time results in identical demo accounts and live accounts of the same broker may highly differ. I personally did not want to know why. But think of how much control a broker has over traders’ accounts. Another simple experiment is that you cannot simply trade using charts and data from a different broker, unless they are genuinely non dealing desk or ECN brokers. Whether you are veteran trader or just starting your forex career, a thorough research about how top forex brokers operate and their genuineness are on the cards.

Find out the important characteristics of best forex brokers. The most important part of trading forex is not the trading strategy but a balance between all components involved in trading decisions. Even if you do have a holy grail of a system, it may be useless if you don’t have best forex broker to go along with it.

Eliminate Unwanted Mail and Fight Identity Theft – 6 Tips

One of the things that can be overwhelming in my house is the accumulation of mail. Like so many of you, I have a busy life, and during the week the mail often gets brought in and piled on the kitchen counter – usually in several different piles so it’s spread all over the place.

I remember reading somewhere that nowadays on average we receive as much mail in a week as our grandparents received in a year, or something outrageous like that. And are we better off for it? I don’t think so! One example – thousands of cases of identity theft each year are related to the theft of people’s incoming mail such as pre-approved credit card and loan offers. Our grandparents did not have to worry about that!

So, here are some tips for cutting down on that unwanted mail:

1. Eliminate the pre-approved credit offers that are such a target for identity theft – call 888-567-8688 from your home phone or go to http://www.optoutprescreen.com to send a request over the internet to the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion). I submitted my request over the internet to opt out for a period of 5 years. It took me all of 30 seconds to do – less time than opening and then shredding one credit offer!

2. Eliminate your name from the Direct Marketing Association mailing list either by sending them a form or filling out a form on the web – both located at [http://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailing#regform] (www.dmaconsumers.org). This will cost you $1 and it may take 3 to 6 months to see a reduction in direct marketing material.

3. Get off the List Broker’s lists. These take a little more time because they don’t have web or phone-based opt out forms, but you can write to each individually. These list brokers sell their mailing lists to all sorts of companies. Write to the following companies, provide your name and address, and ask them to remove you from their lists.

  • Dunn & Bradstreet, Customer Service, 899 Eaton Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18025
  • Metromail Corporation, List Maintenance, 901 West Bond, Lincoln, NE 68521
  • R.L. Polk & Co. – Name Deletion File, List Compilation Development, 26955 Northwestern Hwy,
    Southfield, MI 48034-4716
  • Database America, Compilation Department, 470 Chestnut Ridge Road, Woodcliff, NJ 07677
  • 4. Abacus and Acxiom are other direct marketing organizations, and you can opt out of their mailing list by following these directions:

  • To opt-out of the Abacus database, please write to Abacus, P.O. Box 1478, Broomfield, CO 80038. Alternatively, you may send an email containing the same information to [email protected]. Include your full name (including any middle initial), your current address (and previous address if you have been at your current address fewer than six months). When you opt-out, your record will be suppressed from the Abacus Master File, ensuring your Abacus household record is not selected from the Abacus Database by other Abacus members.
  • Acxiom – For our marketing and directory products consumers may request opt-out by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or by calling 1-877-774-2094.
  • 5. For the mail addressed to “Resident” or “Occupant”, try opting out with Advo either by calling 888-241-6760 or by going to http://www.advo.com/consumersupport.html.

    6. The US Postal Service – When you move and fill out a change of address form with the USPS, they rent your forwarding information to a few dozen private businesses. Remember, more junk mail means more revenue for the USPS! So check with your post office for the best procedure, but instead of filing a change of address form you might want to notify people of your change of address on your own and have the post office hold your mail from the old address until everyone you want to know your new address knows it.

    Following these tips should eliminate a lot of the unwanted mail you receive on a daily basis and give you some added protection against identity theft. Additional resources for learning how to control both unwanted mail and unwanted telephone marketing are: http://www.fightidentitytheft.com and the book Scam-Proof Your Life: 377 Smart Ways to Protect You & Your Family from Ripoffs, Bogus Deals & Other Consumer Headaches (AARP) by Sid Kirchheimer.