Thursday, August 12, 2010

What to do if you're a victim of phishing..

APWG or the Anti Phishing Working Group founded in 2003 is an industry association focused on eliminating the identity theft and fraud as a result of phishing, crimeware, and email spoofing. Membership is open to qualified financial institutions, online retailers, ISPs, law enforcement community, and solution providers. And even if you're not a member, their forum is open to everyone for discussions regarding phishing issues, scope of the problem, as well as best practices in solving the problem; their website is a very good resource of information regarding phishing and you might want to visit their site particularly since the target of phishing and online fraud are personal computers and their users.

The site also gives advice on what to do should you have given out your personal financial information and there are several different scenarios but let's say that what you gave out were your personal identification information; the first thing the site suggests is to report it to one of the three major credit reporting agencies and I checked one of the agencies - Equifax and it's a service company offering to protect your identity as you make payments and you can ask them to put your account on fraud alert, these services are available only in selected countries like the US or UK. Next, the site suggests that you notify your bank(s) and ask them to flag your account and notify you regarding any unusual activity. If an account is opened in your name, immediately close down that account, and if you lost your atm card, get a new card, account number and pin. Contact your local police and report the incident, it was mentioned in class that our police do have (to my surprise) a group specializing on ICT crimes so that's the group you'll want to make your report to. Contact your Social Security administration to report unauthorized use of your personal information. Notify the department of motor vehicles in our local setting that's the LTO and check if an unauthorized license number has been issued in your name (even if most of these advices are common-sensical, when I think of what I would do if I were a victim of identity theft, I actually never thought of doing some of these). Notify the DFA and inquire if someone is asking for an issuance of or renewal of a passport under your name. It also advices victims to report to Internet Fraud Complaint Center; well the site is a partnership between the FBI and White Collar Crime Center and I'm not quite sure if we have something of that sort locally available but if the actor of the crime is from within their jurisdiction then I think you can still report the incident there. Lastly, the site advices victims to document, document the names and phone numbers of everyone you speak to regarding the incident and to follow up with them as to your account.

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