Latest "Identity Theft Prevention" Posts

How do I Get Businesses to Ask For Photo ID?

You’ve probably heard that instead of signing the back of your credit card, you can protect yourself by putting the words “Photo ID required” or “See photo ID”.  So we went out to test this method to see if it actually gets people to do that.  I presented my card at various shops (sporting goods stores, frozen yogurt stands, fast food joints…) and filmed the transactions.  In this small sampling, I found five who did not ask for my ID and six that did.

I wonder if you can guess what the difference is between the people who didn’t ask for my ID and the ones who did.  The answer?  I had written “Photo ID Req’d.” on the FRONT of my card (in several places, in fact) in the cases where it was requested and only on the back where it was not.

Posted in Burning Questions (Video), Identity Theft Prevention by John Sileo, Identity Theft Speaker.
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How to Keep the Heartbleed Bug from Hacking Your Bank Account

My guess is that you feel pretty comfortable banking online, at least from your computer, if not yet on your mobile device. I do too, despite all of the hackers out there trying to intercept our bank account numbers and passwords. Most of us are at ease because of the little lock symbol that appears before the URL when we visit our bank (or Gmail, Yahoo, and so forth). That lock symbol means that our communication is encrypted (digitally scrambled) by a standard called OpenSSL. Over time, SSL has proven to be relatively safe.

Just this week, however, it was discovered that OpenSSL was hacked using a vulnerability known as the Heartbleed Bug. Jeremy Bowers, as interviewed on NPR, put eloquently (emphasis mine):

Posted in Cyber Data Security, Identity Theft Prevention by John Sileo, Identity Theft Speaker.
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Over 90% of Rachael Ray Show Audience Faces Identity Theft Risks

Recently, I was asked to do a segment for The Rachael Ray Show that demonstrated very visually how many audience members face immediate identity theft risks. Watching them move across the stage as we exposed two or three common sources of identity theft was remarkable. Once we had experienced the numbers, we ventured into the house of one of Rachael’s audience members to see how to mitigate the risk. Watch the video to see if you would have joined the “at risk” group, or read the transcript below:

Rachael: We had the audience stand back here because we all carry several items on any given day, EVERY given day, that put us at risk.  So John, you’re going to weed out our audience so we can all learn in how many areas we are seriously at risk if we have certain items on us, correct?

John: Perfect.

Posted in Identity Theft Prevention by John Sileo, Identity Theft Speaker.
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Latest Tax Scams “Target” Data Breach Victims

irs scam alertIt’s no surprise that identity theft once again tops the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams put forth by the IRS for 2014.  They warn that if an identity thief has access to your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number or other identifying information, he or she may use it to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund in your name.  Think of the implications for the 110 million victims of the recent Target data breach as well as victims of the hundreds of other breaches at other retailers, universities, healthcare providers, government agencies and so on.

KrebsOnSecurity reports that the information from the Target breach alone has reportedly flooded underground black markets and cards are being sold from around $20 to more than $100 each.  This data is being sold in hundreds of online “stores” advertised in cybercrime forums.  A fraud analyst at a major bank was able to buy a portion of the bank’s accounts from such a store.

Posted in Fraud Detection & Prevention, Identity Theft Prevention by Identity Theft Speaker John Sileo.
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Netflix Users: Don’t Fall Hook, Line, & Sinker for Latest Phishing Scheme

netflix scamThe latest scheme to target unsuspecting consumers aims right at the core of what matters to the average person on an average night: our entertainment!  In a scheme unveiled by Jerome Segura in a blog post on the site Malwarebytes.org, scammers are going after the personal information and financial resources of Netflix users.

Here’s how it works:

You are on what looks like the real Netflix home page.  You enter your information, but instead of taking you to Netflix, you are redirected to a page telling you your account has been suspended for “unusual activity”.  You are given an 800 number for “Netflix Member Services” and a very authentic looking error code.

If you call this number, a real live human being answers sounding much like a real typical tech support person.  They will be happy to help you (even if you give them bogus account information!) if you’ll just give them that error code.  This then allows them to remotely access your computer.

Posted in Identity Theft Prevention by Identity Theft Speaker John Sileo.
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