Posts tagged "Expert"
Would you like to give the people you care about some peace on earth during this holiday season? Take a few minutes to pass on our 12 privacy tips that will help them protect their identities, social media, shopping and celebrating over the coming weeks. The more people that take the steps we’ve outlined in the 12 Days of Christmas, the safer we all become, collectively.
Have a wonderful holiday season, regardless of which tradition you celebrate. Now sing (and click) along with us one more time.
On the 12th Day of Christmas, the experts gave to me: 12 Happy Holidays,
11 Private Emails,
10 Trusted Charities
9 Protected Packages
8 Scam Detectors
7 Fraud Alerts
6 Safe Celebrations
Fiiiiiiiiiiive Facebook Fixes
4 Pay Solutions
3 Stymied Hackers
2 Shopping Tips
And the Keys to Protect My Privacy
It’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.
Self-censorship on Facebook
Do you ever delete the words you type on Facebook before you hit post?
Have you ever started to type a status update that you thought was hilarious…until you realized your boss might not appreciate your 8th-grade humor? So what’d you do? You quickly hit the delete key and watched your comment disappear forever, right? Not exactly.
What if you are ready to make a snarky comment to Greg, the upperclass jerk who stole your high school girlfriend (and is about to get a divorce, ha ha), but decide to take the high road just before hitting the “post” button and instead, wish him well on his pending journey of love (despite the fact that it’s bound to fail)?
No harm done, right? You never hit the post button, so no one ever saw it! Well, it turns out that’s not quite how it works in Facebook Land.
I’ve had dozens of media requests for interviews and countless more email inquiries from people concerned about the Target data breach. At first, everyone just wanted to know details of how it happened, how big the breach was, and what they should do about it if their credit cards were at risk. Now that the initial shock of it is over, we are on to a bigger question:
How do we keep breach from negatively affecting so many Americans?
Breach will always happen. If it’s digital, it’s hackable. It’s coming to light that the Target breach may have been due to the computer access an HVAC WORKER (no, not an entire company, an individual WORKER) had to Target’s systems. While there is no guaranteed way of preventing fraud, there is a pretty reliable answer out there, and it’s been around for decades. That answer is for the US to finally catch up to more than 80 countries around the world and start using chip and PIN enabled credit cards, also known as EMV, smart cards, or microchip cards.
I got my start as an identity theft speaker. I write and speak on the importance of being vigilant about protecting yourself from identity theft and online fraud from many angles: the stress of trying to reestablish your credibility, rebuilding relationships, regaining control of your personal information, perhaps even fighting to stay out of jail as I had to do. So while I’m an identity theft speaker, my motivation is always completely human. We as humans make flawed decisions about how we fail to prepare for things like identity theft. We as humans are the ones that make the difference in fighting this crime. As it turns out, our wealth is at risk.
(This is the third part in our Tax ID Theft Prevention series. Click here to see part one or part two.)
Stop falling for IRS and tax ID theft scams.
Because we are distracted during tax season, we are primed to be socially engineered or manipulated by tax scams and can end up becoming the victim of tax ID theft. Here’s how to combat the problem:
- When someone asks for your SSN, TIN or other ID, refuse until you verify their legitimacy.
- If someone promises to drastically reduce your tax bill or speed up your tax return, suspect fraud and tax ID theft.
- If anyone asks you for information in order to send you your check, they are scamming for your identity. The IRS already knows where you live (and where to send your refund).
If you are one of the 40 million customers who have used a credit or debit card at Target stores in the United States between November 27 and December 15, you’d better start checking your accounts for fraudulent activity. Target confirmed that the data stored on the magnetic strip of cards (customer names, debit or credit card numbers, and card expiration dates) were taken, along with the three-digit security codes (CVVs) often imprinted on the backs of cards.
The type of data stolen would allow thieves to create counterfeit credit cards and, if pin numbers were intercepted, would also allow thieves to withdraw cash from ATM machines. Only in store purchases are at risk, so online shoppers need not worry.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder would not comment on how customers’ data were stored or encrypted prior to the attack, saying that would be part of the ongoing investigation. Target immediately notified law enforcement authorities and financial institutions, and the issue is being investigated by the Secret Service and a third-party forensics firm.
As you head into the holiday season, one of the best steps you can take to protect your bank account is to eliminate the use of your debit card. While delivering a keynote speech in Washington DC last week, someone asked me if I could name ten times when you should NOT use a debit card. I replied, “It’s a trick question because the answer is NEVER!” I seriously do feel that way, but I know there are people who either need to or prefer to use a debit card rather than a credit card or cash, so I want you to be informed about how to use it wisely.
It seems I’ve spent a lot of time lately writing about the Surveillance Economy. This may be a strange expression to some, so I’ll define it as the use and exploitation of our location information derived from traffic surveillance cameras, new technologies like Google Glass and cell phone GPS tracking, among others. Recent topics we’ve covered include the NSA PRISM scandal, hacking Google Glass, Homeland Security’s seizures of electronic devices when crossing borders, and even drone use. Some of those may seem to be out there in a world that doesn’t affect us directly, but here’s one that hits very close to home for anyone who owns a vehicle.
The American Civil Liberties Union released a report in July of 2013 entitled You Are Being Tracked that outlines the use of automatic license plate readers. These devices, which can be mounted on police cars or on objects like road signs or overpasses, use small, high-speed cameras to photograph thousands of plates per minute. They effectively collect and store information about not only vehicles of potential or known criminals, but everybody who drives a car!