What are the most causes of Identity Theft?
When someone obtains your personal information – name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, birthdate, social security numbers, driver’s license, credit cards.
While it is impossible to totally eliminate the risk of identity theft, here are some helpful tips on how to minimize the risk.
What about the Equifax Data Breach?
Call each of the three major credit companies and freeze your credit file.
Equifax 800 685-1111 Experian 888 397-3742 TransUnion 888-909-8872
Income Tax Fraud
Do not send your social security number by text message or e-mail. Respond to IRS requests received by mail only. File early. Send all tax reports and checks by certified mail.
Use only credit cards when shopping. Credit card charges can be challenged. Do not use debit cards. On the Internet, make sure that the site begins with https. Do not store credit card information with retailers. Remember the data breaches with well known retailers such as Target.
Beware of free public wi-fi networks in hotels, coffee shops, airports, public parks, etc. Do not access sensitive sites such as your bank, financial institutions, and online purchasing sites requiring password information. I use a private internet access service which provides the privacy you need in these public places. CLICK HERE to read more about VPN services.
Protect Your Computer
Update all anti-virus and malware programs. Download and install program updates as requested. Ignore phone call warnings about your computers. Hang up immediately. Delete popups warnings about viruses from unknown sources. Delete e-mails from banks and shopping sites asking to update personal info. Never respond to any requests for personal information over the Internet. To learn more about “phishing,” CLICK HERE. I would avoid requests such as “please rate my site or performance and winning a trip.”
Password protect your phone. Do not include lists of personal information or passwords on your mobile phone. Do not download mobile apps from unknown sources or third parties.
Do Not Call Registry
The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222. You must call from the phone number that you want to register. To register online (donotcall.gov), you will have to respond to a confirmation email.
What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft
Call your bank and cancel your ATM/debit card
Call your credit card companies and report your card has been stolen
Report your missing driver’s license to your local DMV and get a new one
File a police report
Call the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, Transunion) and have a fraud alert placed on your account
Debt collectors – Tell them you are a victim and provide them with documentation
Tax time is almost upon us, and each year, I rebroadcast an interview I conducted on my radio show with Steve Weisman, a lawyer, college professor, author and one of the country’s leading experts in cybersecurity, identity theft and scams. His website, www.scamicide.com, is updated daily and is one of the most comprehensive sites in the field of cybersecurity,
Below is a link to my interview with Steve on the subject of income tax fraud.
You probably take for granted that no one else is able to see when you are using the Internet. A Virtual Privste Network (VPN) allows you to create a secure connection as a shield for your browsing activity from others on public Wi-Fi, and more. VPN is a technology that creates an encrypted connection over a less secure network. An example is an unsecured Wi-Fi network that is used by hotels, airport terminals, hotels, coffee shops, and other free Wi-Fi areas.
The protection provided by a VPN offers many advantages. It prevents anyone on the same Wi-Fi hotspot (or anywhere else) from intercepting your Web traffic. This is especially handy for travelers and for those using a public Wi-Fi network. VPNs also cloak your computer’s actual IP address, making it harder for advertisers (or spies and hackers) to track you online
Over 100 million Americans have their personal information placed at risk of identity theft every year. One of the major reasons of identity fraud is a result of entering personal information such as user names and passwords, credit cards purchases on unsecured Wi-Fi locations.
It’s tax time again. Income tax identity theft is a major problem. According to the IRS, “Tax-refund fraud is expected to soar again this tax season, and hit a whopping $21 billion.“ Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication.
The most common way income tax fraud occurs is when a thief files an income tax return using a victim’s Social Security number, along with a counterfeit W-2, indicating that a large refund is due.
It is important to note that the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email, text messages or social media channels requesting personal or financial information. The IRS also does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action.
The simplest way to reduce the risk of income tax fraud is by filing your income tax return as early as possible. If you file early, your tax refund will most likely be processed before the IRS receives the fraudulent return.
Below is an audio file of an interview I had last year on my BlogTalkRadio program with Steve Weisman, a lawyer, writer, college professor, and one of the country’s leading experts in scams and identity theft. In the interview, we discuss how to reduce the risk of tax fraud and the steps you can take to minimize identity theft. I encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to the broadcast.
It’s tax time and we all know that income tax identity theft is a major problem. The most common way that income tax identity theft occurs is when the identity thief files an income tax return using his or her victim’s Social Security number along with a counterfeit W-2 that indicates a large refund is due.
In his most recent post, Steven Weisman, writes that “Filing your income tax return electronically can be both safe and convenient if done properly, but it also can be risky as evidenced by a recent study by the Online Trust Alliance, a nonprofit Internet Security firm which found that six of the thirteen companies used in the IRS Free File program had significant security issues that included failures to properly encrypt data.”
To read his entire post on Scamicide,com which offers tips on how you can make your electronic filing more secure, CLICK HERE.
Steve has been a guest on my BlogTalkRadio program several times discussing personal identity theft. To listen to my discussion with Steve about how to minimize your risk of income tax identity fraud, click on the BlogTalkRadio logo below.
Criminals seeking credit-card and other personal data are targeting hotels
A few years ago, computer criminals were focusing their efforts on U.S. retailers with specialized software that exploited gaps at the cash registers. Now, they are turning to the lodging industry, taking advantage of uneven security at hotels and the hotel-based restaurants, spas and gift shops typically owned by other companies, people familiar with the incidents said.
Cardholders aren’t responsible for unauthorized purchases, but they must scrutinize their bills for fraudulent charges.
To read the complete article in the Wall Street Journal CLICK HERE
According to Facebook, seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population joining their social networking site. Pew Internet Research reports that 27% of seniors now use social media. One of the major areas that seniors are interested in when I hold a workshop is how to use Facebook.
Why the popularity of Facebook among seniors?
– More and more seniors are choosing to live alone. Facebook offers the ability to socialize with family and friends without leaving their home.
– Social networking sites, particularly Facebook, offer new opportunities to stay in touch and search for friends and past business associates.
– Families are more spread out than in the past. Facebook offers seniors the opportunity to keep in touch with family members and friends anywhere in the world.
– Family members love to share photos. Many seniors access Facebook everyday to keep up-to-date with family events, particularly through new photos and videos.
– Facebook offers the opportunity to play games with family and friends.
For those of you who have not yet set up a Facebook account, my suggestion is to find a family member or close friend who can get you started. Here are some important ways they can help.
– Create an informative About Page which includes information about you. This should include your education and employment history. Having a good picture will help people recognize you.
– Learn how to search for friends and family members.
– Understand some of the safety rules regarding accepting and requesting friends.
– Have someone set up the appropriate privacy settings for you.
– It’s OK to post the month and day of your birthday but leave out the year.