In April 2011, in what was arguably one of the largest Internet
security break-ins, Sony Play Station suffered a massive data
breach of its online network. The "thief" was able to
acquire the names, addresses, emails, birthdates, passwords,
security questions, phone numbers and other personal information
from 77 million user accounts. Epsilon Marketing, a Dallas-based
email marketing provider, was also recently the victim of a data
breach, which resulted in the thief obtaining the names and email
addresses of some customers from approximately fifty client
businesses, which included large retailers and financial
Should these victims be worried? Most certainly, since the
information stolen could be used by criminals to commit identity
Identity theft is the unauthorized and often illegal acquisition
and use of an individual's personal identifying information by
a third party for illicit financial gain. In unusual circumstances,
it might be in support of extortion designed to cause the victim
financial hardship. Generally, identity thieves use someone
else's identity and credit information in order to obtain
money, services or products. The criminals use an array of methods
to obtain identity information from dumpster diving to
sophisticated system compromise over the internet.
Common identity theft methods that the public should be aware of
include the following:
Dumpster Diving – The thief would go
through the victim's trash to try to find valuable personal
information. This information can come in the form of utility and
credit card bills for example.
Skimming - An electronic method of capturing a
victim's personal information with the use of a device that
scans a victim's credit card and transfers the information
collected to another device.
Phishing – One of the most pervasive
methods used, phishing is an internet email scheme that tries to
lure the unsuspecting victims to counterfeit websites in order to
obtain personal and financial information.
Prevention is the best way to deal with this crime. While you
cannot 100% guarantee that you will not become a victim (as in the
recent headlines), you can make it more difficult for the
criminals. Here are some tips:
Because identity theft can happen by way of internet, telephone
or regular mail, you should be particularly wary of any emails,
calls or mail that are attempting to obtain your personal or
Limit the credit cards and identification information that you
carry in your wallet or purse. Do not regularly carry your
passport, social insurance number (SIN) card or birth certificate,
but keep them in a safe place.
Install and regularly update virus and spyware detection
software on your computer.
Invest in a shredding machine for bills and other personal
information that may be discarded.
Memorize your passwords and personal identification numbers so
you do not have to write them down.
Could you be a victim? The best way to determine this is to
regularly monitor your financial accounts. The RCMP offers advice
should you suspect or know that you are a victim of identity theft
or fraud. Visit their website at www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Software license agreements generally require the customer to pay fees for the software license and related services, which fees are usually based upon the duration of the license and the manner in which the customer is allowed to use the software, together with applicable taxes and withholdings.
In less than nine months, on July 1, 2017, persons affected by a contravention of Canada's anti-spam legislation will be able to invoke a private right of action to sue for compensation and potentially substantial statutory damages.
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