publicandprivatespace

March 9, 2011

Smart phone apps can lead to identity theft?

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 2:49 pm

 

BY: MITCH TROTTA

Identity fraud happens all around the country to people who have no idea that it’s even happening. Every single person who owns a smart phone and uses applications daily needs to start becoming more aware of the dangers apps bring. Fraud can seriously ruin a person’s life, and that is why people need to start becoming informed. Just through the download of one little application, the information needed for someone to have their identity stolen is in the open.

Knowledge that all smart phone owners need to know is that their personal information is sent to companies whenever they buy or download something like apps. An article from the Wall Street Journal explains what data is collected. It is information such as names, cell phone ID numbers, and other information tied with the phone that is being collected. A lot of people do not know what they do with this information. Mostly, they distribute it to advertising companies and receive nice pay checks. Next question should be about what can happen if this information gets into the wrong hands. This is where the risk of having a person’s identity stolen comes into place.

Fighting Identity Theft describes a form of fraud called cell phone cloning, and how it is claiming more and more victims. The information that is needed for cloning cell phones is the cell phone number and its identification number, two items that are leaked out every time a person downloads an application. Criminals take this data put it into a different cell phone, and to the cell phone companies, everything they do on the cloned phone is thought to be done by the original owner. Since the 90’s this crime has grown sufficiently, and cell phone companies are doing their best so that they can stop this from happening.

Scotts Leamon gives us an example of cell phone cloning in his article with a video, he published last year. He explains a story about a college student named Ashley Jackson, and how her cell phone was cloned. The cloner made phone calls all over the country, and some of the calls even lasted close to an hour. Her bill was extremely costly, and her cell phone company, Verizon, just thought that there was something wrong with her phone. Stories like this have been happening all over the country and show that cloning does happen to people.

Cloning is not very hard to accomplish. Nobody knows who works at these companies that receive the personal data, and nobody knows what they do with the information when they get it. They can literally find the items needed to steal an identity with just a click of the mouse. The reason I am very pleased with not owning a smart phone, with access to thousands and thousands of apps is that I know that no stranger has access to private cell phone information that can affect my life. I find it very hard to trust a person who I do not even know with this type of data, and that is why I have no interest in owning a smart phone.

Just because people want to play the new, most popular game, they put their identity out to the public. If a person is a victim of cell phone cloning, he or she will have all of the bills that criminal has collected with his or her cloned phone sent to the original owner. Everyone has seen cell phone bills, and they can get very expensive. I don’t want to take this risk with applications to pay hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars extra when I do not need to. More and more people own smart phones, and more and more people could be the next victim. People need to stop living in their little fantasy worlds where nothing crime related ever happens. Fraud is out there and always will be. A way to put oneself away from this risk is to stay away from the apps. Not only do people pay the extra money for these phones and applications, they could also be paying an extra phone bill along with it.

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1 Comment »

  1. by Daniel Rieman

    I have found this topic very interesting from earlier in the quarter. It seems that approaches vary greatly between, “It needs to be legally regulated more effectively” to “I will not carry a complex phone.” Although I use a $4 prepaid cellular phone currently, I find myself leaning toward the prior argument. Technology has certainly progressed quickly over the past 30 years and I believe it is time for the legislation and law enforcement to catch up. Much of the answer to the phone cloning, which I would equate to a mini-ID theft, is up to the cellular companies to institute through security features. We can hope that cell phone buyers begin to select based on enhanced phone security and that this, through competition, saturates the market with phones that cannot be so easily cloned.

    Comment by Daniel Rieman — March 10, 2011 @ 3:17 pm | Reply


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