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Seminar shows how to avoid ID theft

Catherine Cantey, with Synovus, delivered the presentation of “Hackers, Cyberpunks and Thieves: How to Prevent Corporate Identity Theft” at Albany Technical College on Wednesday. Georgia is currently ranked fourth in the nation with 21,581 identity theft complaints in 2010.

Catherine Cantey, with Synovus, delivered the presentation of “Hackers, Cyberpunks and Thieves: How to Prevent Corporate Identity Theft” at Albany Technical College on Wednesday. Georgia is currently ranked fourth in the nation with 21,581 identity theft complaints in 2010.

ALBANY, Ga. — A one hour seminar, “Hackers, Cyberpunks and Thieves: How to Prevent Corporate Identity Theft,” was presented Wednesday at Albany Technical College. The program, a part of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s week-long Salute to Small Business, was sponsored by SB&T.

Identity theft is when another party uses your name or personal information for their gain, according to Catherine Cantey with Synovus, who delivered the presentation. The stolen names or information might be used for any number of purposes, including the opening of credit card accounts, making purchases, filing fraudulent tax returns or even to commit a crime. Cantey said Georgia is currently ranked fourth worst in the nation with 21,581 identity theft complaints in 2010.

Contained within Cantey’s address were a number of points for businesses and individuals to be aware of, including using social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, for business purposes; phishing; mishing; vishing; Trojan viruses, and account hijacking. When a perpetrator “phishes,” he may call or send emails which pretend to be from the victim’s bank. What the criminal is doing is looking for information, Cantey said.

Also mentioned were Financial Malware Attacks, such as W32.Silon, which can intercept a user’s Internet Explorer session and steal credentials; the Zeus, or Zbot, which can steal personal information and website credentials, and the DNS, which can divert traffic to another computer.

A number of suggestion were presented during the seminar as to what can be done to protect a business from cyber and other types of information-gathering attacks, including the use of paperless statements for bank accounts, secure sites for online transactions, and personal firewalls for broadband Internet connection. Cantey also suggested changing passwords several times a year and shredding personal and business documents when they are no longer needed.

“If you think it’s too good to be true, it is too good to be true,” Cantey said, referring to the enticing promises of various scams used by unscrupulous people to obtain money or information from bank and credit card customers.

Some of the top scams for 2011, according to Cantey, were the Government Grant Scam, The Charity Fundraising Scam and the Foreclosure Rescue Scam.

The Grandparent Scam is particularly common, she said, and begins when a college student announces on Facebook how he’s looking forward to his break in Mexico or other remote area. After the student’s break begins, the perpetrator calls the student’s grandparents, pretending to be jailed and in need of a substantial amount of bail money. Typically the call comes in the early morning hours, the student can’t be reached because he’s in Mexico and so the grandparents wire the money.

The Wednesday program was one of a planned series of “Lunch and Learn” seminars at Albany Tech, all of which are recorded and available for viewing through Albany Tech or the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, said Bill Sadler, chairman of the Chamber’s Small Business Resource Committee.