Stealing You Blind

By: Mike Marusarz
By: Mike Marusarz

It happens with the click of a mouse or the stroke of a key your identity taken in an instant along with it your sense of security and most likely your money and good credit.

The internet is a useful tool to shop, pay bills online and of course email but predators are out there waiting for an opportunity to steal you blind.

"It happens to thousands if not millions of people across the country everyday and Kansans are not immune to it," said Whitney Watson of the Kansas Attorney General's Office.

Thieves take advantage of the global gullibility of victims worldwide often using a popular weapon of choice through emails called phishing.
"Phishing is when a scammer will use purportedly the name of a company and they will actually use company logos and they will say you need to update your account information," said Watson.

When you do send in the information that means jackpot for the crooks. Credit card numbers, social security numbers and bank information many times are sold to other crooks and used to cash you out.
Watson explained,
"It's as if you've given the key to your home with that information and the scammer can do a tremendous amount of damage."

Internet indentity theft is hurting credit card companies too. They took an almost 3 billion dollar hit last year because customers shied away from online shopping.

Phishing emails aren't the only threat as password hackers prey on easy to crack codes often through wireless networks.

"Make sure you use password and virus protections and make sure you use filtering devices on your computer," said Watson.

Easy as it is for scammers to get your info catching the crooks is not so easy.
Waston explained,
"One of the problems is most of the scammers come outside the borders not only outside of Kansas but outside this country. Jurisdictionally it is very difficult if not impossible to find them but to prosecute them."

Prevention is paramount in protecting you from becoming the next victim.
*Verify unsolictited emails with the purported company it's from.
*Don't email your personal information to anyone.
*Change your passwords often.
*Tips to keep you safe and afloat surfing the net.
If you feel you're the victim of Internet Identity Theft you can contact the following phone numbers and websites:

The Kansas Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection

The Kansas Attorney General

Federal Trade Commission

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email:
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