Bogus E-Mail Message Impersonates Social Security Administration


The Agency has received several reports of an email message being circulated with the subject “Cost-of-Living for 2007 update” and purporting to be from the Social Security Administration. The message provides information about the 3.3 percent benefit increase for 2007 and contains the following “NOTE: We now need you to update your personal information. If this is not completed by November 11, 2006, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely.” The reader is then directed to a website designed to look like Social Security’s Internet website.

Keep Your Internet Searches Private


Internet users were shocked to learn that the search queries of over 600,000 individuals were exposed online by AOL recently. Although the personal names of AOL users had been replaced with numbers, apparently for a research project, reporters and others were able to determine the identities of several people. Ixquick, a search engine based in the Netherlands, promises it will permanently delete all users’ personal search details from its log files.

Bogus Email Claims Cell Phone Numbers Being Released to Marketers


Like so many emails these days you can't believe everything that comes into your inbox. A recent example of some of the half truths contained in well-intentioned emails includes the following which has been making the rounds on the Internet:

Call Don't Click: Why It Is Smarter to Order a Federally Mandated Credit Report Via the Phone Instead of the Internet


new report issued today by Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum (www.worldprivacyforum.org) in advance of the March 1 rollout of free credit reports to Midwest residents, shows that consumers may be better off calling or mailing for their federally mandated free credit report instead of going online for it.

Phishing Emails Can Lead to Domain Registration for Scam Web Sites


"Phishing" emails are sent by scam artists and are disguised to look like they come for a legitimate financial institution or other online vendor such as eBay or PayPal. The PRC has received reports from those who have replied to phishing emails with their name, address and phone number who later learned that their personal information was used by the phisher to register web site domains. At times, if they also provided a legitimate credit card number, it may be used to pay for the web site registration, too.

Online Information Brokers and Your Privacy


There are many websites that sell or provide for free, personal information about individuals. This information is gathered from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance), publicly-available sources and public records.

Privacy Groups Urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to Veto Spyware Bill


The California-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the World Privacy Forum urge you to veto SB 1436, a bill dealing with spyware, authored by Senator Kevin Murray.  While this bill is well-intentioned, it would establish provisions that are virtually unenforceable, could well undermine existing law, and further, would set a bad precedent nationwide for other spyware bills that are likely to be considered in other states and in Congress.

Radio Frequency Identification: Applications and Implications for Consumers


Industry representatives have described the numerous benefits of RFID in today's workshop. But RFID is a classic information technology in that there is a potential downside as well. If the technology is implemented irresponsibly, we as a society could experience it not as a wonderful convenience with many social benefits, but as a tool for consumer profiling and tracking -- in other words, as one part of a larger surveillance infrastructure.

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