Posts tagged "Identity Theft Prevention"
Product Review: Are identity theft monitoring services worth it?
Yes, identity theft services can be well worth the investment, especially if you ever become a victim. Imagine that your Social Security number is part of a national breach like Anthem or the Office of Personnel Management. Or it’s stolen out of your tax preparer’s office, scavenged from your trash or skimmed from your iPad as you surf on a free Wi-Fi connection. In most cases, you have no idea that your digital identity has fallen into unethical hands, usually those of organized crime, who replicate and resell it in seconds.
Based on a recent assessment of 40,000+ SSNs of children, it was found that more than 10% those SSNs were being used by someone other than the child, far in excess of the rate of misuse in the adult population. The study points out the major issues that surround child identity theft and why we need to start paying attention now. It is more prevalent than many think and the threat is growing. Here are a few of the statistics that were found:
- 4,311 or 10.2% of the children in the report had someone else using their Social Security number – 51 times higher than the 0.2% rate for adults in the same population
- Child IDs were used to purchase homes and automobiles, open credit card accounts, secure employment and obtain driver’s licenses
- The largest fraud ($725,000) was committed against a 16 year old girl
Apple has been hit with a lawsuit in Florida alleging the company is violating iPhone user’s privacy and committing computer fraud. The case came in response to news that the iPhone maintains a time stamped location log, and that data is also stored on user’s computers.
The lawsuit was filed in Federal court in Tampa Florida on April 25 by two customers who claimed Apple was tracking iPhone owner’s movements without consent, according to Bloomberg.
The case was filed after word that the iPhone and iPad with 3G support maintains an unencrypted log file showing where users are based on cell tower triangulation. That file is transferred to user’s computers during the sync process with iTunes and is maintained as part of the device’s backup file collection.
Major data breaches like the recent Epsilon Breach occur frequently, even if you don’t hear about all of them. With all the publicity surrounding this particular breach, people have been asking how to remove themselves from some of those marketing lists that are frequently compromised.
Opting our of marketing databases is one way to lower your risk of becoming a data breach victim.
So, how do I get out of marketing data bases?
Most databases allow you to opt out of having them share and sell your information, you just need to find out how. Many sites make it tricky to get this done, but most sites that are selling or harvesting your information allow you to do so one way or another.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Identity Theft still tops the annual list of consumer complaints. The list was released last Tuesday and Identity Theft was #1 for the 11th year in a row with more than 250,000 complaints. Identity theft accounts for 19% of all consumer complaints received by the FTC last year.
Why is this such a lingering, time-tested problem? Because most people, most businesses, read about it being such a terrible problem, and then go off an do little about it. Corporations fail to train their employees on personal identity theft, and that lack of skill and prevention framework seeps into the workplace. This, in turn, leads to the loss of more data, customer records, employee files and intellectual capital.
The report also states that the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. area ranks #1 in the nation for identity theft complaints per capita. Number 2 on that list is Brownsville, Texas followed by Dunn, N.C.
In a town with a population of about 3,000 people it seems that almost all the citizens of Bennett, Colorado have had their identity stolen. The scheme was simple and it was easy to fall victim. Identity thieves apparently used skimmers to extract credit and debit card numbers from individuals. Skimmer scams can happen when the criminal installs a “skimming” device over the card slot of an ATM, debit or credit card reader. The skimmer then reads the magnetic strip as the user unknowingly passes their card through it.
In the case of Bennett, Colorado it is believed that this was done at a local King Soopers gas pump. The skimmer is gone now and authorities are on the hunt for the thief. King Soopers has denied that any of the fraudulent activity happened at their gas pumps and authorities have also said that they knew this was a crime spree for the past few weeks. In the meantime, many of the victims who used debit cards are without those funds because its the same as using cash. The average amount stolen was around $700 and more people are coming forward every day.
In response to the growing demands for more privacy on the internet, Mozilla implements a Do Not Track option in Firefox 4.
The most recent version of Mozilla Firefox, which was rolled out this February, offers users the option to opt-out of website tracking. Once enabled, the user’s preference to not be tracked is automatically sent to the website. That doesn’t mean that the website has to do anything about it, but there will probably be a bit of a stink about those sites that don’t respect user’s privacy preferences (it would be the equivalent of someone making a sales call to you after you join the Do Not Call list). Unfortunately, most users will never know which websites are participating in the opt-out Do Not Track function.
Learn more about Firefox’s Do Not Track Technology and about the Big Brother issues posed by companies tracking your every move on the internet.
Identity theft speaker John Sileo shares his tax-time identity theft prevention tips.
This past week, a New Jersey man admitted to stealing tens of thousands of dollars in government checks from mailboxes. He stole Social Security, tax refund and unemployment checks from November 2009 to April 2010, then recruited people to cash them using fake IDs. Prosecutors say the scheme cost the government more than $70,000. Not only did this criminal have the actual financial refunds from most individuals, but he also had identity information and even social security numbers.
Around this time of year, tax time, people are more vulnerable to Identity Theft. There is very little that is more damaging and dangerous to your identity than losing your tax records. After all, tax records generally contain the most sensitive personally identifying information that you own, including Social Security Numbers (for you, your spouse and maybe even your kids), names, addresses, employers, net worth, etc. Because of this high concentration of sensitive data, tax time is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for identity thieves. Here are some of the dishes on which they greedily feed:
The 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin was just released, and it shows new trends in identity theft. While the report states that identity theft cases have decreased overall, it is costing consumers more time and money. The good news is that the drive to increase awareness about identity theft is working.
Meanwhile, consumer costs, the average out-of-pocket dollar amount victims pay, increased, reversing a downward trend in recent years. This increase can be attributed to new account fraud, which showed longer periods of misuse and detection and therefore more dollar losses associated with it than any other type of fraud. – Javelin Strategy & Research