Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three big tips for identity security

Smart Money has a three-way tip sheet on “how to thwart identity thieves” today, Dec. 22, which MSN/Dell shared with its users today. The link is here.

The first tip is to stay with big names when shopping, because “they have the most to lose” if security fails. Amazon got good marks. But I still find that some “really indie” film DVD’s are not available in Amazon and need to be bought from the self-distributor.

Another tip is to watch out for “shoulder surfing”, a physical security problem at ATM’s and even with cell phones and Blackberries (which can be harder to type on). But the biggest danger could be mugging or robbery off hours at ATM’s that are not in locked spaces (requiring card access).

Another tip is to watch debit cards use very carefully for bogus charges. Security purists say, don't use debit cards at all.

I think there are some others. Use strong passwords, and develop a secure system for keeping them straight, especially when traveling. Think through your security plans before traveling, which can force you to build good habits for when you return home. (Maybe that movie “Up in the Air” has some pointers for frequent fliers.)

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