Are P2P Networks an Identity Theft Threat?

Identity Theft and P2P

Those of us who have logged on to P2P networks may not have given much thought to how using them could lead to identity theft. Unfortunately, identity theft criminals did give thought to the topic -- a lot of thought. It seems that using P2P networks can indeed lead to becoming the next victim of an identity theft crime. If you're wondering how (or if you're wondering what P2P is) then you need to read this...

What's P2P?

P2P stands for "Peer to Peer" and they're networks used for sharing files. Kazaa is a popular P2P network. When you log onto the network you can download files from other P2P users (and they can get files from you).

How Does P2P Lead to Identity Theft?

Well, rather than going into all of th "what ifs" of the P2P/identity theft situation, let's talk about an incidence that really happened. A gentleman from Seattle (the term gentleman is being used VERY liberally here) logged onto a P2P network and performed searches for terms like "tax return" and "credit report". He'd then use the information he found to open credit accounts in the names of his victims.

Wondering exactly how he got the information he used to commit identity theft? After all, who in their right mind would put that stuff up on a P2P network for the world to see? Therein lies the problem.

What You Don't Know...

When you log onto a P2P network, the sharing goes both ways. If you don't know how to protect yourself, everything on your PC is up for grabs when you're using P2P. Put your credit report in the wrong folder and your social security number can end up in the hands of hundreds (or thousands) of would-be identity theft crooks.

If you think password protecting sensitive file is enough, you might want to think twice. If the crook can get your file he or she can probably crack any password you'd have in place. Do yourself a favor. If you use P2P networks, keep your personal info off of your computer. Otherwise, stay off of P2P networks altogether.

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