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The Twelve Thefts Of Christmas


The 12 Ways Thieves Could Steal Your Identity This Holiday, And What You Can Do To Grinch Them!

San Ramon, CA - December 8, 2004 - A leading expert on cybercrime and identity theft today released The 12 Thefts Of Christmas, a simple guide to help consumers recognize and avoid a dozen of the most common identity thefts expected over this holiday. The list is an extract from LifeGuard – An Interactive Guide To Avoiding Identity Theft, the new book by leading security expert and author Neal O’Farrell.

“This holiday will be just as important for identity thieves as it will be for retailers,” according to Mr.O’Farrell. “There is no end to the ingenuity of identity thieves when it comes to parting victims from their identity, and I hope my 12 Steps will help consumers recognize some of these scams and grinch the scammers before it’s too late.”

Based on recently published statistics, in the 12 days leading up to Christmas nearly a quarter of a million Americans could lose their identity to a thief, and it could take until the following Christmas before victims take back control of their identity. According to Mr. O’Farrell, the greatest contributor to this relentless growth in identity theft is consumer apathy, while the greatest defenses are education, awareness, and personal security planning.

“Victims of identity theft will tell you that it’s a life-changing crime,” says Mr. O’Farrell. “The solution is to get there first – to change the lifestyle, habits, and behavior that make you a vulnerable target for thieves. And the only way to do that is to create a personal security plan.”

The 12 Thefts of Christmas looks at the dozen most common ways identity thieves are expected to con consumers out of their identity, and what steps consumers can take to protect themselves:

The thefts expected to be most prominent this holiday season include:

1.Phishing schemes
2.Bogus email receipts and shipping notifications
3.Bogus online stores
4.Mail theft
5.Electronic greetings
6.Friends, family, and co-workers
7.Freeware and shareware
10.Online auctions
11.Bogus charities
12.Hard drive rebuilding

The entire list, complete with detailed explanations and security recommendations, is available online at, and can also be downloaded in PDF format from that web site.

The 12 Thefts of Christmas is an excerpt from LifeGuard, a new interactive eBook authored by Mr. O’Farrell and created to help consumers and small business owners learn how to plan their way around identity theft.

LifeGuard features:

- 250 pages of expert advice on identity theft prevention planning.

- A 25-question interactive quiz.

- An easy-to-follow 125-point prevention planning checklist.

- An identity theft response planning template to help minimize the impact of an identity theft.

The eBook is packaged as a small software application that users can download instantly to their computer and preview before they purchase.

LifeGuard costs just $12.95 and is only available online at

About the Author

Neal O’Farrell is the founder of security firm My Security Plan and author of LifeGuard – An Interactive Guide To Avoiding Identity Theft. Neal has been fighting hackers in two continents for more than two decades and has been described as one of the world’s Top 20 security experts. He was the first expert to train an entire police department in identity theft awareness and that program has since been used by more than 200 police departments nationwide.

He is the also first security expert to have his awareness programs endorsed by both the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.

Mr. O’Farrell is also the author of Mind Your Own Business – A Small Business Guide To Surviving Cybercrime And Identity Theft, due for publication in the Spring of 2005. A native of Dublin Ireland, he now lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.


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