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    Identity theft — the crime that people think happens only to other people.

    Most people I have talked to about identity theft have been mildly concerned, but normally think that it is not something they themselves should worry about. After all, they tell themselves, “I only use the Internet to check my email and occasionally buys things — what’s the worst that can happen?”

    I would imagine that is exactly what a fellow Irishman who uses the eBay handle jopsoup was thinking as he strolled into a local Internet cafe to check his email, only to find that he owed $3,002,150 dollars. I would also imagine that he had quite different opinions of identity theft when he got up to leave.

    It appears that this man’s eBay account details had previously been stolen (most likely from a Trojan monitoring for passwords that could have been installed in the same Internet cafe he always frequented), and had been used in the winning bid on a massive collection of music being sold on the well-known auction site. The collection on its own is quite impressive with over 300,000 CDs (that’s 75 16Gb iPhones for all you youngsters out there).

    The UK Home Office estimates that identity theft cost the British economy £1.7 Billion over the last 3 years, figures that have been echoed by other governments around the world. The fact is your data, no matter how trivial, can be very valuable if it falls into the wrong hands. Let’s be careful out there — the Web can be a dangerous place and and just as you would when exploring a new city or town, it pays to be prepared and protected before venturing into it.

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