Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday December 3, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. ÷ Students worrying about identity theft while online should not stop surfing the Internet or shopping on the Web.
Instead, they need to be more cautious while finishing up the holiday season, said FBI spokesman Gary Johnson. And online is not the only place to be cautious.
"(Students) probably don't realize the people that can have access to their information," said Johnson, who operates out of the FBI's Oklahoma City office.
With students on the computer more, roommates, suitemates and friends of roommates can easily access Social Security numbers, credit card information and anything else used on the computer to purchase or access online.
Through buffers and histories stored on computers, anyone can access information at that computer, Johnson said.
After the Nov. 25 arrest of three people connected with the theft of more than 30,000 identities, the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies have been swamped with calls about identity safety in this high-tech age.
Authorities say it was the largest identity theft ring to be broken up in U.S. history, with false loans and run-up credit charges estimated at more than $2.7 million.
Claudia Bourne Farrell, spokeswoman for the FTC, said that people worried about identity theft have taken over the complaint database.