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Identity fraud-fighting tool kit
Use these work sheets and other resources to battle identity theft and fraud.
Protecting your identity

Glossary of identity theft terms

18. Spam -- The transmission of unsolicited electronic messages in bulk. Usually used in reference to junk e-mail.

19. Spim -- Spam over instant messaging.

20. Spit -- Spam over Internet telephony, or VoIP spam.

21. Spoofing -- Mimicking a legitimate e-mail address or Web site for the intent of fraud. Scammers spoof the e-mail address, logos and design of legitimate businesses in e-mail scams trying to steal account numbers or identifying information by copying the look of the business. Links in the e-mail send victims to the spoofed Web site.

22. Spyware -- Software installed either unbeknownst to the user, or without revealing the intent of the program. Spyware collects data on the user and shares it with the parent company. More annoyingly, spyware programs can also take control of the computer, reroute the Web browser to pages to install more programs and change settings.

23. Synthetic identity fraud -- A type of ID fraud in which thieves literally create new identities either by combining real and fake identifying information to establish new accounts with fictional identities or create the new identity from totally fake information. In typical synthetic fraud, a fraudster uses a real Social Security number and combines it with a name other than the one associated with that number. The combination often doesn't hit the consumer's credit report.

24. Trojan horse -- A software program, usually downloaded, which purports to do one thing but actually damages other programs. Trojan horses can arrive as attachments in e-mails, IMs or by download.

25. Virus -- A program which hides inside another program. When that program is run, the virus also runs and can copy itself into other programs.

26. Vishing -- A voice phishing scam that involves getting consumers to dial into a voicemail system that records personal information. Can involve first a spoofed e-mail that appears to come from a major company or banking institution that directs the recipient to call a number, or a cold call attempting to retrieve sensitive information. Cold calls may be live or automated. Like phishing scams, the message usually sounds urgent and stresses the existence of a problem with the recipient's account.

27. Worm -- A computer virus capable of copying itself without needing a host program.

-- Posted: April 21, 2008
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