Emily’s list: Russian spy edition
On Sunday, U.S. authorities arrested 10 suspected Russian spies, according to Reuters. Most were spread across four cities in the eastern part of the United States, and an 11th suspect was arrested in Cyprus, but was released. The Russian Foreign Ministry says that while those arrested are Russian, the claims against them are hogwash.
These spies “were accused of gathering information ranging from data on high-penetration nuclear warhead research programs to background on CIA job applicants,” according to Reuters. The scariest part? Many of them “lived quiet lives in American suburbia for years.” I’m sure many of their neighbors were shocked when they found out they had been living next to a scheming spy.
Coincidentally, according to a 2009 survey done by the Identity Theft Resource Center called “Identity Theft: The Aftermath,” identity theft is not always conducted by a stranger. While 63 percent of survey respondents didn’t know who the thief was, a shocking 24 percent “identified the thief as a relative, friend, roommate or an ex-spouse or significant other.” Another 10 percent said their identity theft problem had to do with an employee of a business that had been stealing their information in some capacity.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to sleep with one eye open. Just remember that things aren’t always as they appear, and some people may have malicious intentions or be more desperate than you realize. Just be more cognizant of your important personal data and who has their hands on it.
Do your best to shred sensitive financial documents when you’re done with them, and don’t have your computer store your passwords if you share the machine with others. Also, don’t give your Social Security number to businesses unless you absolutely have to.
If you suspect someone is attempting to steal your identity or is using your personal information maliciously, check out our Q&A about what to do when a family member steals your identity.