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Swiped: How to Protect Yourself In a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves

Swiped Paperback

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“A real eye-opener . . . rock-solid evidence on the rise of identity theft and multiple steps we can take to counteract an attack.” —Kirkus Reviews

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Increasingly, identity theft is a fact of life. We might once have hoped to protect ourselves from hackers with airtight passwords and aggressive spam folders, and those are good ideas as far as they go. But the truth is, there are people out there — a lot of them — who treat stealing your identity as a full-time job.

One such company is a nameless firm located in Russia, which has a trove of over a billion internet passwords. Another set up a website full of live streams of hacked web cameras, showing everything from people’s offices and lobbies to the feeds from baby monitors. Even purchases made in person are still logged by retailers like Target, who are famously vulnerable to hackers.

Adam Levin, a longtime consumer advocate and identity fraud expert, is your guide to this brave new world. By telling memorable stories and extracting the relevant lessons, he offers a strategy for dealing with these risks. You may not be able to prevent identity theft, but you certainly shouldn’t wait until it happens to take action. Levin’s approach is defined by the three M’s: minimizing risk, monitoring your identity, and managing the damage. The book is also organized around the different problems caused by identity theft: financial, criminal, medical, familial, etc., enabling readers to dip into the sections most relevant to them.

Swiped is a practical, lively book that is essential to surviving the ever-changing world of online security. It is invaluable not only for preventing problems but helping cope when they arrive.

More Praise:

“The real value of Levin’s book…lies not in its diagnosis, alarming though it is, but in its practical advice on how to protect yourself. No one can make themselves completely safe, but much like burglars who target the most vulnerable house on the street, hackers will seek out those with the weakest online defenses. Levin has a wealth of suggestions for making yourself less vulnerable.” —The Sunday Times (UK)

“If you have a credit card, or money, or a car, or a house, or anything of value—if you have a job or a family or a name—you need to read this book.” —Marc Weber Tobias, Security.org and Forbes contributor

“Identity theft is becoming a fact of life—data breaches are growing at an alarming rate. In Swiped, Adam Levin shows you how to proactively minimize the risk of identity theft and protect your identity, by design. Don’t leave it to chance (or to the Internet of Things)—follow Adam’s sage advice!” —Ann Cavoukian, executive director, Privacy and Big Data Institute, Ryerson University, and former Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, Canada

“Identity theft is about so much more than credit card heists or hacked bank accounts today. A lot has happened since I wrote Your Evil Twin a decade ago. Now, ID theft is about having your face stolen, your friends stolen, your company, even your personality. In the twenty-first century, you are the 1s and 0s that make up your identity in the world’s computers—your digital twin—and nearly all of us now have an evil twin. Swiped is an important update to the literature on privacy and identity-based crimes. If you want to keep up with your evil twin and all the new ways your identity can be used against your will, you should read this book.” —Bob Sullivan, bestselling author of Stop Getting Ripped Off

“Every two seconds. That was the pace at which Americans became victims of identity theft in 2013–and that’s just the cases we know about.” This is Adam Levin’s warning to readers inSwiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves. But his advice is not about how to keep your information completely hidden. He explains that if you’re in any way plugged into the commerce of daily life, your information is almost certainly already out there, and that it’s only a matter of time before identity thieves strike. His advice is for “realists”–people willing to acknowledge the inevitability and take practical measures to protect themselves.

While personal security can be a dry subject, Levin makes his case through intriguing anecdotes, like that of a teenage cashier (“Alex from Target”) who became world-famous overnight when a stranger posted his photo to Twitter, and disturbing stories of adult children whose parents destroyed their credit under their noses. He argues that the current underfunding of the IRS leaves gaping vulnerabilities in our system (a problem that’s estimated to lose the government $21 billion to identity thieves over the next five years). Most importantly, he offers straightforward advice that any layperson can use.

A founder and chairman of Identity Theft 911 and Credit.com, Levin has made informing and protecting consumers the focus of his career. As he stresses throughout Swiped, identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the United States, and one that no one can afford to ignore”. —Annie Atherton, Shelf-Awareness.com

PUBLISHER: Public Affairs

PAGE COUNT: 288 pages

PUB DATE: November 24, 2015