Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Spam and identity theft

  1. Sep 22, 2006 #1
    It seems to me that this problem is going to become a major issue sooner than later. Not soon enough in my opinion considering no one is doing anything about it.

    Much as I would like these people summarily executed without trial, the problem will unfortunately have to get much worse before that becomes necessary. These people are worse than murderers considering the damage they do. My companies IT department tells me that 46% of the email they get is spam. I have read that identity theft is costing people billions of dollars.

    One solution for much of the problem seems to not have occurred to anyone (probably because a few people would lose some money, too bad) . My understanding of this is that the vast majority of this comes from overseas. I would be all for shutting off internet access to the US at the border. No internet traffic out of the US. I don't need to use the internet outside the US and for what little I do I can do without it. Crazy idea? Ask someone who has had their identity and retirement savings stolen by some Nigerian scumbag how they feel about it. :devil:
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Sticking one's head in the sand is rarely a successful means of solving a problem.

    I, for one, am happy that you're not the one making decisions.

    - Warren
  4. Sep 22, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    your idea is attractive. One benefit is I wouldn't have read your post if the US had decided to shut off international access. You might consider shutting your border to people as well. If those crafty Nigerians can't get emails through, I'm sure they will be the ones rummaging through your trash looking for discarded mail with personal info in it.
  5. Sep 22, 2006 #4
    It never ceases to amaze me how uncaring the human race is, most peoples attitude is 'so long as it doesn't happen to me it's OK', especially americans. I just don't understand that attitude. You would both be singing a different tune if you or your parents identities were stolen.
  6. Sep 22, 2006 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    A pretty high fraction of PF's user-base is not American, and that idea kinda goes against the spirit of the internet's very existence.
    Though scams are propagated through spam, they are separate problems - and scams are not the same thing as identity theft. Frankly, I don't have much sympathy for someone who falls for such scams. People need to be smarter. Identity theft is a security issue.
  7. Sep 22, 2006 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Eh? Where did you get the idea that I don't care about other people? Shutting the US off from the internet just is one of the worst solutions to anything I've seen.

    I would be very suprised if my parents fell victim to an email scam after all the warnings I have given them about doing anything at all on the internet. They know well enough not to give out personal information to unsolicited requests, and to consult their children in the event of something unusual, we've told them enough times.

    Hey, notice a solution here to these kinds of scam problems that doesn't involve shutting yourself off from the rest of the world-educate people.
  8. Sep 22, 2006 #7
    "While ID theft may once have seemed like the stuff of movies or crime novels, it has now become a common occurrence in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission estimated in a September 2003 report that 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2002, at a cost of $53 billion to consumers and businesses.

    Moreover, victims of identity theft can spend untold stressful hours wrestling with paperwork, dealing with financial institutions and police in order to clear their names and restore their credit records.

    "What we're seeing here is a tremendous number of perpetrators stealing a tremendous amount of money, and every one of us is paying for it," says Jay Foley, co-executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group in San Diego. "Being a victim of fraud is one of the costs we're paying for." "

    Scams, spam and identity theft are all because of the internet. Most of it is from outside the US borders. But it's OK as long as you aren't one of those 10 million? That was 2002, it's much much worse now.
  9. Sep 22, 2006 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    no they aren't. Well spam is (email spam at least), but we've had scams and identity thefts long before the internet was around.

    Source please.

    Thinking your 'solution' is a terrible one doesn't make someone an uncaring jerk. I think most people are capable of learning how to not be suckers if you give them a chance. It would be interesting to see some age statistics on reported scam victims, specifically I'm wondering if there's a noticible difference for people young enough to have grown up with the internet compared with those who didn't.
  10. Sep 22, 2006 #9


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Only e-mail spam is limited to the internet. Ever hear of "junk mail"?

    Anyone letting their greed and ignorance result in getting scammed by things such as you mentioned got what they deserved IMHO. I also have no sympathy for them.

    I think you need to research topics before you post about them. Thread closed.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2006
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook