Following up on last spring’s well-attended seminar, Rider University’s Center for Business Forensics this time hosted two free interactive presentations this month focusing on the major issues surrounding identity theft. The two offerings, one for the general public and one specifically for the law enforcement community, provided insight into the widespread, varying, and serious nature of identity theft. Dr. Drew Procaccino, a professor of computer information systems at Rider, organized and led the panel of experts from law enforcement, banking, legal, library, IT, and health care organizations who participated earlier this month and/or in this morning’s seminar. I was happy to help provide materials, participate as a panelist, and blog about these seminars again.
According to Terri Cullen, author of The Wall Street Journal Complete Identity Theft Guidebook: How to Protect Yourself from the Most Pervasive Crime in America, “…Identity theft covers several different specific crimes, and collectively,…is one of the easiest crimes to commit, one of the hardest to prosecute, and one that is drawing increasing attention from the media.” Last year, we determined from the Q&A sessions that there was a lot of misinformation out there on the different types of identity theft, the scope of people who commit this type of theft, the trends, and what we can do to better detect and prevent this theft. Ten frequently repeated “best practices” from the experts for detection and protection were given:
- Shred with a crosscut shredder pieces of mail that contain any personal information before throwing them in the trash at home or at work.
- Place outgoing mail and retrieve incoming mail via a locking mailbox or official Postal Service box.
- Use a virtual credit card number (available through most banks) for online purchases, rather than your “real” credit card—connected to your card, the virtual number can be set up to only be used once, for that one online purchase (or for longer, but only if you wish).
- Keep an eye on your physical card when you are paying for something—don’t allow it to disappear out of your sight (skimming of your credit card number could occur).
- Inventory/photocopy what is in your wallet/purse and place that photocopy (back and front of cards) in a locked cabinet—if your wallet/purse is stolen, you have all the info.
- Never respond to an unsolicited email from your bank, medical organization, etc., and don’t unsubscribe—don’t even click on the link, just delete it.
- Cover the keypad from prying eyes/cameras with one hand while entering your PIN at an ATM.
- Review your credit reports (you can get a free one each year from each of the three credit reporting agencies, and if you stagger requests, you can get one every four months).
- Clear private data from your browser (i.e., Firefox, IE, or Safari)–delete temporary files, browsing history, cookies, cache, saved form information, and saved passwords, especially when using a public computer or kiosk, and then close your browser.
- Use different passwords for different sites—and make your passwords passphrases.
Below, I have listed and described my four favorite ID theft protection and privacy information assistance sites found in Cullen’s book and on other expert sites. I mentioned these at the seminars, and I regularly use and direct people to them—they are excellent, not only for preventive measures, but also for the detailed steps to take if you find that you are a victim:
- Consumers Union: Nonprofit Publisher of Consumer Reports – “Consumers Union (CU) is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization, whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers. CU publishes Consumer Reports and ConsumerReports.org in addition to two newsletters, Consumer Reports on Health and Consumer Reports Money Adviser.” For those concerned about ID theft, see their FinancialPrivacyNow.org project, which strives to inform us all about personal financial information use and tips for regaining control over our sensitive financial information.
- Fighting Back Against Identity Theft – This Federal Trade Commission website is a “one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.” Sections for consumers, businesses, law enforcement personnel, and members of the media are provided, as are state and national data reports. Website info is also available in Spanish.
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Nonprofit, Consumer Information and Advocacy Organization – Among its goals are to “raise consumers’ awareness of how technology affects personal privacy, empower consumers to take action to control their own personal information by providing practical tips on privacy protection, and respond to specific privacy-related complaints from consumers, intercede on their behalf, and, when appropriate, refer them to the proper organizations for further assistance.” I found their Identity Theft, Financial Privacy, and Internet Privacy links, fact sheets, and stories to be very valuable.
- Identity Theft Resource Center: Working to Resolve Identity Theft – “Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is a nonprofit, nationally respected organization dedicated exclusively to the understanding and prevention of identity theft. The ITRC provides victim and consumer support as well as public education. The ITRC also advises governmental agencies, legislators, law enforcement, and businesses about the evolving and growing problem of identity theft.” This site provides info on data breaches, victim & consumer resources, scam alerts, and more–it even provides pages in Spanish and Chinese. I still introduce people to ITRC’s ID theft test and PC info safety quiz to possibly help get people ‘in the mood’ to begin protecting themselves and their family from this threat.
My continually updated website, Personal Profiles and Other Publicly Available Information: An Internet Hotlist on Detecting and Protecting Your Digital Footprint, contains the above sites, as well as notable personal information search engines (which I demonstrated at the seminar), along with other related information for teachers, librarians, and teens/tweens.
As a librarian and professor, I feel compelled to share this type of information with my patrons and students, especially since I personally have been a victim of ID theft—it can be a very emotional, time-consuming, and financially-unrewarding process to clear up.
Prevent it from ever happening to you, and help others do the same, please.
Technorati Tags: identity theft
Core competences for librarianship were finally defined at the very recent Midwinter Meeting in Denver, where the ALA Council passed the resolution, and this Tuesday, ALA sent out a press release summarizing the resolution and providing links to the core competences site and a pdf. The document defines the basic knowledge to be possessed by all persons graduating from an ALA-accredited master’s program in library and information studies.
The core competences “stress the role of library and information professionals in promoting democratic principles and intellectual freedom, knowing and applying the legal framework guiding libraries and information agencies – including laws relating to copyright, privacy, freedom of expression, equal rights and intellectual property – and identifying and analyzing emerging technologies and innovations.”
I especially enjoyed reading from their press release the “identifying and analyzing emerging technologies and innovations” phrase above myself! ;)
Do take a look at the entire core competences doc for all of the details when you get a moment.
My last post at Library Garden was all about blogs attracting comments, and I continue to get comments and feedback about it. This morning’s post continues to highlight blogs, this time, in general and in detail.
For the last few years, whenever I was explaining blogs to library and school administrators, especially regarding their impact and trends, the report(s)/site(s) I would demo first were the “State of the Blogosphere” reports from Technorati. I was and continue to be impressed with the amount of valuable material Technorati has collected about the blogosphere on its site, but since November last year, I have been wondering if they would continue with their “State of…” reports. In fact, I finally removed a slide from a Web 2.0 intro presentation linking to the latest one from them, an April 2007 report, since the data was just too far out of date now.
Well, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear about a new full Technorati report on the horizon from Greg Jarboe’s post at SearchEngineWatch.com (one of my favorite places to stay-up-to-date on everything Web-related) late yesterday afternoon, and I look very much forward to reading and sharing the entire report.
Read highlights [from the post by Greg Jarboe at SearchEngineWatch], such as this:
Blogs are now a pervasive part of our daily lives. While there have been a number of studies conducted that tried to understanding the size of the Blogosphere — both in terms of the number of blogs and blog readership — all of these studies agree that blogs are now a global phenomenon that is “mainstream.”
Technorati cites the numbers from three of the studies, which vary in the details but generally agree that “blogs are here to stay.”
As of this morning, two of the five segments of the report, to be “released in five consecutive daily segments” are available, and this year’s report provides a lot of data thus far and it surveys many bloggers. While you wait for segments 3-5 of the full, detailed report, get started by reading the “Introduction,” Segment/Day 1: “Who are the Bloggers?,” and Segment/Day 2: “The What and Why of Blogging” over at Technorati. Do take the time to visit, because if you have any interest in the latest impact and trends associated with blogs, you will be educated and impressed with the detail of their latest report–I certainly was!
Last week, Patricia Dawson (the Science Librarian at Rider University) and I (the Education Librarian) did a library research instruction session together at our Rider University Libraries for students in a math curriculum course in our the Master of Arts in Teaching program. We, of course, discussed, demonstrated, and provided hands-on time for several databases and Web sites that we subscribe to or visit regularly to keep up with various reports and research on improvements in education. Besides looking for articles by particular authors on the topic of teaching fractions, they were also looking for substantive intervention reports and proven practical information guides regarding various teaching strategies. The students were very pleasantly surprised by several database findings and sites, including our EBSCO ERIC database, and what replaced the AskERIC site–The Educators Reference Desk. Both were extremely useful in their research, and it was the reminder email I received from ERIC News earlier today about their newly redesigned Web site that reminded me that many education students, current teachers, and professors in undergraduate and graduate education programs are not familiar with particular valuable publications available via ERIC, even if they have previously used the ERIC database. I meant to blog about this earlier this week, but it is never too late to share valuable information!
Because we subscribe to the ERIC database via EBSCO now, I don’t regularly go to the free ERIC Web site, but I was reminded of its usefulness. Earlier this week, ERIC provided detailed information on its new Web site structure and design at http://www.eric.ed.gov/.
The new ERIC Web site features several enhancements that will make the experience of using the site easier and faster for individual researchers, along with improvements to aid librarians in supporting ERIC users. These enhancements include improved navigation, expanded help and training, an information area for librarians, and a lighter visual design.
More detailed information on their new look and feel is available at their site, and I must say that I did appreciate the new Information for Librarians section of their site; however, it was the full summary of and full text reports and articles from one of two of ERIC’s special featured publication sections that really impressed the students and professor, and I wish to highlight it: The What Works Clearinghouse, housed at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) site, which “brings rigorous and relevant research, evaluation and statistics to our nation’s education system” since 2002 and also features four famous research and data IES Centers, as well as funding opportunities and the other ERIC special publication: The Regional Education Laboratories–all worth exploring.
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) began in 2002, and its newly redesigned site provides exactly the type of information researchers and teachers are looking for–a central, trusted site for full text reports and articles on the scientific evidence for what really works in education. Our students loved this site, especially for its topics of Elementary School Math and Middle School Math. Check out the “Topic Report” and “List of all Intervention Reports” links under each of the topics, which in addition to math provide fantastic info on Beginning Reading, Character Education, Dropout Prevention, Early Childhood Education, and English Language Learners. Useful explanations of the difference between Topic Reports and Intervention Reports, although very related, are provided (linked above)–this question came up often in the research sessions.
Being a very practical researcher myself, I like to point out other very interesting areas of the WWS site: their Practice Guides (providing recommendations and strategies for classroom teachers on several challenging topics) and Quick Reviews (providing, well, quick reviews, of “timely and objective assessments of the quality of the research evidence from recently released research papers and reports,” K-12+).
I found myself just as enthralled with this WWS site as the students and professor, and was happy that I revisited the new ERIC site. I believe you will find this site and other related ERIC sites very practical and useful as well. If you have other different “favorites” to share with readers of the Library Garden blog, please feel free to comment and get the word out!
Last week, I did a quick presentation at my own Rider University Libraries for the CJRLC Tech Group May meeting attendees, and some of the sites I discussed and demonstrated were sites I subscribe to or visit regularly to keep up with various Internet statistics—that is, where to go to find out who’s hot, who’s not, and who’s got the search market cornered, so that I can invest big bucks. ;)
OK, seriously, I have no real $$ to invest, but I do invest a lot of time on the Web, and when I am interested in knowing more about specific or general U.S. or world Internet traffic and other stats, I consistently go to my favorite Web locations (or have them come to me—I just love RSS!). I continually poll those who attend my sessions to see who they think dominate certain subject or topic areas, including general search engines’ market share of searches. I also am somewhat surprised that many people that I talk to at workshops, conferences, and other librarian and teacher get-togethers do not know about these stat sites, or at least much about them. When I show them how I know what I do about some of this, most quickly jot down the URLs or efficiently add them to their bookmarks or RSS feed readers. And since I just answered three messages about this, I figured—sounds like this could be a good blog post before I head off on a long drive to Arkansas for my son’s wedding! So, here they are, in no particular order of preference:
Alexa – They have a lot to offer, but I love their Traffic Rankings section with it’s “Top 500 Sites” and “Movers & Shakers,” as well as their Directory with its “Popular Categories,” and I like their blog, too.
Nielsen//NetRatings – Definitely in my top three, I like their Free Data and Rankings section, but I find myself constantly coming back to their Press Releases section (you can do a search or scroll down the page to find previous releases).
So, do you like these as much as I do? Do you have different favorites for keeping up with Internet stats that you would like to share? I am sure that everyone would love to hear from you!
P.S. If you are feeling somewhat nostalgic (life from 15 months ago), look at the current sites above and compare it to a Library Garden post I did on U.S. Web search traffic from Jan. 2007 from comScore.
Back in December, I blogged about Making–and Protecting–your Digital Footprint: Do you Care? Even a Little Bit??, noting that even though I am online quite a bit, I still consider myself one of “The Concerned and Careful” type, especially concerning personal information available about myself and my family online and take steps to proactively limit and/or keep a watchful eye of our online data. As a previous victim of identity fraud, I must say that it changes your perspectives somewhat. Anyway, according to the very interesting and earlier-mentioned Pew Internet & American Life Project’s “Digital Footprints” report from last December, one in five online adults (21%) fall into this “Concerned and Careful” category, so I know that I am not standing alone.
Well, I said in my earlier post that I would return to this topic, and I do so today because of two reasons: one, I just read my fellow Library Garden blogger and friend Amy Kearns’ funny and enlightening Facebook post yesterday about our “digital” and “real” lives colliding, and about me stalking her in Princeton (OK, she was only joking about the stalking part–no really, she was joking). I have to say that, because since showing a journalist during an interview how easy I could find info on her, she quoted me in her US1 article when I jokingly said, “Now I can stalk you.” (note that the link to my Feb. 2008 website on this topic is included, but the article accidentally hyperlinked a period at the end of the sentence, so remove the period from the URL — it should be http://www.kn.sbc.com/wired/fil/pages/liststudentpe3.html (Personal Profiles and Other Publicly Available Information: An Internet Hotlist on Detecting and Protecting Your Digital Footprint)
Second reason to return to this topic: Rider University’s Center for Business Forensics hosted a free seminar focusing on the major issues surrounding identity theft and fraud, offering to the public insight into the widespread, varying, and serious nature of identity theft. It was well attended and there were a lot of questions, especially since the expert panel consisted of detectives, a VP in banking, and professor in health information management, and my good friend–and Rider’s very own web expert, blogger, and manager of information technology–John LeMasney, who, incidentally, already placed his April Google Docs presentation online for us (another detective also joined the panel not originally listed on the website advertisement, Detective Tracy McKeown, and Investigator Bethany Schussler was unable to make it). This seminar was led by Dr. J. Drew Procaccino, Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems, who has researched identity theft, biometrics and smart card technologies and co-authored an extensive survey of smart-card technologies published by Elsevier/Academic Press in 2004 (see Drew’s directory page above).
I could tell from the many questions asked of the excellent presenters that there is a lot of misinformation out there on the different types of identity theft, the scope of people who commit this type of theft, the trends, and what we can do about better detecting and preventing this theft. Three blogs mentioned in their handout to help us keep up with the latest and greatest scams, schemes, and trends related to ID theft are:
I would like to add three of my favorite sites (also briefly mentioned in their handout) that I regularly use and direct interested people to for great information, found on my previously mentioned workshop website along with other related information, such as notable social networking sites, personal information search engines, and other online identity and privacy info sites:
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse — http://www.privacyrights.org/
Fighting Back Against Identity Theft — http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
Identity Theft Resource Center — http://www.idtheftcenter.org/
OK, still not sure if you should care, or if the whole thing is even worth considering? If that is true, then my guess is that you did not look at any of the blogs or sites mentioned above, yet. At least try doing this–take the ID theft test and/or the PC info safety quiz from the Identity Theft Resource Center.
If you are not happy with your scores, then, reread this post and follow the links when you have some time to do something to help yourself and others. You will be glad that you did!
Remember, just as the experts will tell you, following your digital footprint and obtaining your personal info is easy to do if you are not aware, so easy even a caveman….well, you get the picture! ;)