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ID theft

All about how it happens and how you can keep it from happening to you.

LimeWire tool of choice for 2 Seattle identity theft scammers

You pride yourself on your security practices, so on the way to work you drop off the mail you’ll send from a post office, you set the house alarm system and lock the deadbolt. All these things give you a peace of mind.

But if you or your kids are using file-sharing peer-to-peer (P2P) software to work from home to download music or videos, you have effectively left the doors standing open and left all your credit cards on the dining room table with a plate of cookies.

LimeWire is the most commonly used P2P software, and was the tool of choice for two Seattle men recently arrested on charges of aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and computer crimes.

Federal prosecutors accuse Frederick Eugene Wood of targeting P2P users to obtain personal information on at least 120 people from all over the United States. Wood was indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s office and has been arrested.

If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 22 years in prison.

Seattle police began investigating Wood after Gregory Kopiloff was arrested for his part in the scheme. Kopiloff was sentenced in 2008 to four years in prison after confessing he was part of a similar scheme. Investigators belief Wood trained Kopiloff to use LimeWire to steal identities and financial information from other users.

There have been thousands of incidents of criminals using file-sharing software to access financial records and even tax information. Hackers use the open door to install keystroke-recording software on other computers to gain access to Social Security numbers and credit card accounts and passwords.

Jay Foley, founder and executive director of the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center recommends users of file-sharing software either eliminate it all together or set it up on a computer not used for any personal, financial or work-related purposes.

Published Apr 07 2009, 12:14 PM by IdentityTheft
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