by Robert Siciliano

Celebrity Identity Theft Issues

Aug 25, 2010

The only difference between a so-called celebrity and you and I is exposure. Their lives are subjected to much more attention than most people and for that they pay a price. Ours is a celebrity obsessed culture that has multiple TV programs every day of the week that focus solely on the lives of the popular people. With that attention often comes baggage unforeseen by the individual prior. But once they are in the spotlight they either shine or crash and burn. The unfortunate side effect of this much attention is security issues. When a person has so many millions of eyeballs on them chances are there will be a stalker or two along with someone who will do their best to swindle them. As McAfee recently pointed out criminals are also using celebrities on the internet to hack your PC. Cybercriminals often use the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with malicious software. Anyone looking for the latest videos or pictures could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of just trendy content. Cameron Diaz has replaced Jessica Biel as the most dangerous celebrity to search for on the Web. Jennifer Anniston along with Anne Hathaway, Liv Tyler, Cher and Melanie Griffith, among others were victims of credit card fraud to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars by their beautician. Liv Tyler was swindled out of $214,000. If these celebs weren’t paying attention to their credit card statements chances are they ate most of those fraudulent unauthorized charges. Card holders only have 60 days to dispute fraud. After that it’s up to the discretion of the bank if they want to hear your plea. To ensure peace of mind —subscribe to an identity theft protection service, such as McAfee Identity Protection, which offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. For additional tips, please visit Robert Siciliano is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing celebrity identity theft on CNBC. (Disclosures)