Friday Grab Bag – 3/26/2010

It’s Friday again, and that means it’s time for the weekly SpendOnLife grab bag! Here we share some of the week’s more interesting tidbits from the world of identity theft and credit. Enjoy!

Puerto Rican birth certificates are hot commodities

I’ve never thought about this, but Puerto Rican birth certificates are big ticket items on the identity theft black market. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, so other Hispanics steal their birth certificates to be able to apply for passports to travel in and out of the U.S. The solution? Scrap all existing legitimate birth certificates and start fresh. Starting July 1, every Puerto Rican will need to obtain a new birth certificate, and pay $5 for it. Schools and other organizations will also no longer be allowed to keep birth certificates on file.

Hackers no longer need hacking skills

Now, anyone who wants to steal your personal information over the internet doesn’t really need high-tech skills, according to the NewScientist. All they need is a little money to buy the software that does the hacking for them. This kind of software has been around for awhile, but many packages are now being sold with extra incentives like a money-back guarantee. So if the wannabe criminal isn’t completely satisfied with his take, he can return his purchase risk-free.

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Beware: iPods infected with malware

The ways criminals can get at your personal information are endless. Here’s one I hadn’t heard of before: identity thieves load malware onto iPods and then sell them to you via eBay or Craigslist. They’ve got your address already, and the malware gives them access to the personal information on your computer.

Is the convenience of a credit card worth $1,068 a year?

Own The Dollar illustrates how common it can be for yearly credit card fees to top the $1000 mark. If you’re not too scared, spend an hour looking over your credit card statements over the past year and add up all the extra fees you pay on a monthly basis. Just one more reason to make a serious effort to pay down your balances in full every month.

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