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March 2006

This chapter is from the book

TUESDAY: MARCH 14, 2006

THIS WEEK’S FOCUS: Computer Security and Privacy

PREVENTING IDENTITY THEFT

Knowing how big a problem identity theft is, how can you best protect your personal information? Here are some tips:

  • Never provide personal information via email or instant messaging—which means you should never respond to phishing emails, no matter how legitimate they may appear

  • Verify that you’re talking to authorized personal before you provide personal information over the phone

  • Deposit all your outgoing bill payments in public post office boxes, not in your personal mailbox

  • If you plan on being away from home for an extended period of time, have your mail put on vacation hold until you return

  • Shred all charge card receipts, account statements, and voided checks before you take out your trash

  • Don’t give out your Social Security number to anyone, unless absolutely necessary

  • Once a year, order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies; check this report for any unexpected, unauthorized, or incorrect activities

ON THIS DAY: GIANT BRAIN COMPLETED (1955)

On March 14, 1955, AT&T Bell Laboratories announced the completion of the first fully transistorized computer. The computer, officially named TRADIC, was informally known as the "giant brain."

GADGET OF THE WEEK: TRIMTRAC GPS SECURITY LOCATOR

If your car ever gets stolen, you can find it fast with the TrimTrac security locator. This gizmo operates via GPS technology, which fixes its location and then sends its location via SMS text messages over the GSM network. It’s small and battery operated, so you can mount it out of sight anywhere in your vehicle. Buy it for $499.99 at http://www.trimble.com.

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