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August 11 , 2010

Identity Theft in the Cyber Age


Ronald J. Leach's lectures on identity theft have been attended by more than 1,200 people. Many more have heard him on closed-circuit television.  This experience, and his long experience as a professor of computer science make him uniquely qualified to write this book.

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Do you know how to protect your vital identity information when you use computers for your banking, credit card transactions, and everyday purchases? What about email, web surfing, texting, and social networking?

This easy-to-understand book, intended for the general, non-specialist reader, will tell you what to avoid in using electronic commerce. You’ll learn about the most common security weaknesses of modern banking and e-commerce software and when to avoid using certain systems, the tell-tale signs of potentially insecure transmission of your data, and how to avoid the dangerous practice of “Pameiob.”

This book is a comprehensive, easy-to-understand guide, based on the author's experiences as a long-term identity theft lecturer and computer scientist, that is dedicated to keeping your assets and identity safe while navigating this dangerous world. Major topics in this complex subject are illustrated by case studies describing the personal experiences of some of the author's friends and acquaintances, and by experiences of some prominent public figures. You'll learn about the potential profit margins that make cybercrime so appealing to criminals - and why such crime is so hard to prosecute.

In this book you will learn just how pervasive the crime of identity theft is, and how you are at risk even if you don't do any online banking or make any online purchases using a credit card. We'll discuss some simple strategies that can help you cope with the side effects of the increase in digital information that is already available to potential identity thieves.

There are four main chapters. Chapter 1 is entitled Identity Theft: How Bad Is It? and provides an overview of this all too common problem.

Chapter two, entitled Identity Theft: How Vulnerable are You?, provides examples of actual cases of the most common types of identity theft that occur today.

The third chapter is entitled Protect Yourself From Identity Theft and contains a set of strategies that can be used to greatly reduce the chances of you suffering identity theft.

The fourth chapter is entitled What To Do If You Are An Identity Victim. It provides a set of overall strategies and specific actions you should take if you are the victim of identity theft.

There are three appendices. The first appendix contains contact information for the Federal Trade Commission, the three major credit reporting agencies, many US banks, many consumer protection organizations, and a few of the more established companies that specialize in identity theft protection and recovery. The second appendix contains a checklist for protecting yourself from identity theft. Appendix three also contains a checklist; this one is used to aid you in recovering from identity theft if you are a victim.

About the Author

Ronald J. Leach received the BS, MS, and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and an MS from Johns Hopkins. He was a professor for over 41 years, and Department Chair for 9, retiring in 2010 as Professor Emeritus of Computer Science. Much of his research is on the interfaces of complex software and hardware systems, and was motivated by his multiple experiences working on NASA-related projects. He currently consults on the accreditation of Computer Science programs. Ron Leach has lectured on cruise ships for several years on a variety of topics. He has given technical and non-technical talks many times on three continents. He developed and completed two ten-hour professionally produced videos for training next-generation software engineers for the Indian government. He is the author of five books on computing, two books on genealogy, one on identity theft, and over 100 technical publications. He understands the identity theft issues well, having experienced it directly and having helped several friends respond when it happened to them. His computer expertise has helped influence his lectures on identity theft. It has also given him special insight into the problems in forensic analysis as it pertains to computers, where he has supervised several projects. Ron is a long-term genealogist, editing the Journal of the Maryland Genealogical Society. Much of his genealogical research has focused on Russia and the Baltics and has required deep understanding of these countries’ history and culture. He has combined trips to computing research conferences with his genealogical research to the advantage of each. He is a well-traveled amateur historian, having been to approximately 55 countries, 5 continents, and on more than 25 cruises on multiple cruise lines. He can discuss several destinations, linking in history, politics, and geography as appropriate.

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