Scam of the day – August 24, 2013 – Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Michelle Obama become identity theft victims – what it means to you

Recently, Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates, Beyonce, Mel Gibson and FBI director Robert Mueller all became targets of identity theft with Kris Jenner alone losing more than $70,000 and all because they do not regularly read Scamicide.com.  Go back through the Scamicide archives to March 14, 2013 and you will find that day’s Scam of the day in which I told you how some foreign hackers were able to steal the identities of twenty-three famous politicians, celebrities and sports figures including the aforementioned people.  What happened was that the hackers hacked into the website www.annual credit report.com and got access to their victims’ credit reports which provided a treasure trove of personal information that, in the hands of an identity thief, could cause serious harm to the people whose information was stolen.  Instead of quietly using this information as most identity thieves would do, these hackers publicized the information on the Internet which is where  according to federal law enforcement agents Floridians Luis Flores and Kyah Green obtained the information and used it to steal the identities and the money of a number of public figures before they were recently arrested.

TIPS

Why this is important to you is that the reason that the initial hacker was able to get into their victims’ credit reports was due to a flaw in the authentication process at www.annualcreditreport.com.  Without going into the details, the manner in which the security questions were set up made it easy to crack, particularly where much of the information required to be answered in order to access the accounts could be found throughout the Internet.  Certainly public figures have much personal information available on the Internet for people to readily search out.  Sarah Palin had her email account hacked when the hacker was able to answer her security question about where she met her husband by just going to Wikipedia.   You may think that you are not a public figure and that your personal information is not readily available, but think again.  Too many people put too much personal information about themselves on social media, which then becomes fertile ground for someone trying to steal your identity.  The lesson is that less is more.  The less personal information that you make available on social media, the more you protect yourself from identity thieves.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.