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Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Swiped

Swiped: How to Protect Yourself In a World of Scammers, Phishers and Identity Thieves, Adam Levin, Public Affairs, 2016

The question is not if, but when, identity theft happens to you. This book gives the details.

Everyone has read about the major data breaches of recent years, exposing the personal information of hundreds of millions of people. The bad people in this world have come up with new ways to scam the public. A letter or phone call may come from a debt collector saying that, for instance, a credit card has been opened in the name of a deceased family member, or a newborn baby (Pay Up Now). It's possible that the debt collector, and the bill, are not even legitimate, and they are simply trying to intimidate you into paying.

Hackers have been known to file fake tax returns, using your Social Security number. When you file your return, and are looking for your refund, the IRS will say "we already gave you your refund." If a hacker gets your medical history, using the information to open a credit card, for instance, or giving your name to the police after they have been arrested, is not the worst that can happen. They can also, for instance, delete your allergy to penicillin, or give you HIV, which is much worse.

What can a person do about it? In this day and age, anyone who still uses "password" or "1234" as their computer password is just asking to be hacked. Change your passwords often. Check your bank statement and credit card statement online many times per month; don't wait for the paper statement. If anything looks questionable, start calling today. Get a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit-reporting agencies every year. Again, if anything looks questionable, don't wait. Get on the phone today, and document everything. Also, minimize your online exposure, and clean out your wallet.

It's not possible to completely eliminate your exposure to identity theft, but, this book does a very good job of helping to minimize it. Many people may consider what's in this book to be common knowledge, but it certainly bears repeating. This an eye-opener, and very much worth reading.

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