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A tip for preventing identity theft

by on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, under Financial

File Sharing Identity TheftSo, I was watching the news on TV tonight and they did a special on preventing identity theft.  I found out that one of the easiest ways to get any random persons information is by finding tax return documents on popular file sharing networks.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I loaded up a very common file sharing application and performed a search. The returns I found were all prepared by a particular, but VERY popular, tax application. I will not mention which tax application publicly, nor will I mention which file sharing network because I do not wish to bring ill repute to either.

I contacted a few of the people who’s tax returns were publicly available to let them know about the issue. They were all very grateful to hear from me and I advised them to uninstall the file sharing applications. Most of these people were elderly and had children who were using the computer to download music over the file sharing networks. Unfortunately, I cannot call everyone on an individual basis, and there are legal concerns involved in what I was doing, regardless of intent. So, I decided to do my part by sharing this knowledge with my readers here.

Make sure your file sharing applications are configured so that they do not share sensitive (or copyrighted) data. I would also recommend that you do NOT keep documents like this on your computer. Back them up to a CD or some other media and delete them from your PC. I don’t want to be calling you someday (well, at least not about this).

Good luck out there…

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Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 Financial 1 Comment