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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Identity Theft’

How to Safely Access The Internet On The Road

VPNYou 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.

Click here to read more

 

Can You Hear Me Phone Scam

The scam involves an automated call that asks “Can you hear me” and when the person receiving the call indicates “yes,” the response is recorded and used to authorize unwanted charges on your phone bill through cramming or other accounts.

Never respond with an affirmative declaration, such as “yes” to any automated call or telemarketer.

If you want to avoid such telemarketing calls, you can do so by going to www.donotcall.gov/, and enroll in the Do-Not-Call List

Are you getting “Robocalls” on your cell phone?  Robocalls are phone calls with prerecorded messages. To can avoid robocalls by enrolling in nomorobo, which cuts off robocalls after one ring.  You can enroll at www.nomorobo.com/

To read the entire article on Steve Weisman’s Spamacide site, CLICK HERE
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It’s Tax Time Again – How to Minimize the Risk of Tax Fraud

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.

BlogTalkRadio 1

It’s Tax Time. What You Need to Know About Income Tax Identity Fraud

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.

BlogTalkRadio 1

Checking In at a Hotel? Beware of Credit Card Fraud

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

Identity Theft – A Brief Tutorial

Happy New Year!

2015 was a challenging year on many fronts, not the least of which was the concern around Identity Theft.

Over 100 million Americans have their personal information placed at risk of identity theft every year. Every day there is a new report of a security breach hitting a retailer, credit card provider, and even the government. Yesterday, Time Warner Cable reported that was it was recently notified by the FBI that “some of our customers’ email addresses, including account passwords, may have been compromised.“.

The most common cause of identity theft occurs when someone obtains personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, drivers’ licenses, and credit cards.

While it is impossible to avoid being the victim of Identity Theft, there are a number of steps that can be taken to minimize the risk.

Passwords

– Do not use the same password for e-mail, social networks (Facebook), online banking, retail sites (Amazon), online backups, etc.

– Do not use easy to guess passwords such as birth dates, spouses and childrens’ names.

– Change your passwords every few months.

– Use a strong and unique password for each frequented online website. A password made up of a phrase such as “IDon’tLikePasswords$$$” combines capital letters, small letters and symbols and is easy to remember. Personalize for a particular site by taking a few letters from the site and adding it to the password. An Amazon password would be “IDon’tLikePasswords$$$Ama.” Your email password would be “IDon’tLikePasswords$$$email.

Credit and Debit Cards

– Use credit cards when possible. At least you can challenge a charge if your credit card account is hacked. If you use your debit card, funds are transferred immediately and it can be difficult to get your money back.

– Delete saved credit card numbers. To safeguard against data breaches, remove credit card numbers on file with retailers and enter them with each purchase. We have read about data breaches from major retailer data banks.

Social Security numbers and birth dates

– Make birth dates (year) private on Facebook. Hackers glean personal information, such as age and location, from social media accounts in an effort to piece together social security numbers. By keeping birth dates private and opting to mail birthday wishes, identity thieves have one less resource.

– Avoid including social security numbers online (emails, text messages, filling out forms). Social security numbers are the major source for hackers. When asked for identification, offer other means of proof..

Virus and Malware Protection 

– Remove old anti-virus and anti-malware software and install updated versions. Keep devices safe and secure with the latest software and security patches as soon as they are available. Keystroke logging malware can invade devices with weak security and capture credit card information.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

– Do not access any sites requiring passwords from unsecured wi-fi locations such as hotels, airports, coffee shops, parks, etc. An unsecured wi-fi network is one that does not require a network code.

These are just a few ways you can minimize your risk of identity theft. Several months ago interviewed Steve Weisman, one of the country’s leading experts on scams and identity theft, on my BlogTalkRadio program. The first interview featured a discussion on Why You Should Be Concerned About Identity Theft, and the second, What You Need to Do If You Are A Victim of Identity Theft  Each of the programs are about 15 minutes long. Both interviews were among my most listened to shows of the year.

If you missed them, click on the links below to listen to the interviews.

Why You Should Be Concerned About Identity Theft 

What You Need to Do If You Are A Victim of Identity Theft

There seems to be a report of a new data breach or threat almost daily. Check the article about Time Warner above. Be diligent!!

If after listening to the interviews, you want to discuss any of the points covered, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Why Seniors Love Facebook

Facebook_logo(2)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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You Need To Do If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft

The response to my recent BlogTalkRadio program “Why You Should Be Concerned About Identity Theft,” was overwhelming. My guest, Steven Weisman and I discussed some of the reasons and ways that identity theft occurs.

Many of you wanted to know what to do if you were a victim of identity theft. This week, Steve returned to discuss what you should be doing if you find that your identity has been stolen. Here are several of the topics that Steve and I covered.

– The importance of filing a police report

– Initiate a credit freeze

– How to correct your credit report

– How to deal with debt collectors

– What you should be doing about your passwords

In case you missed the interview, you can hear the complete program by clicking on the blogtalkradio logo below.

blogtalkradio

 

 

 

Why You Should Be Concerned About Identity Theft

Have you been a victim of Identity Theft? 

Are you concerned about all the reports of personal information being stolen from corporate data bases?

According to most sources, approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year.

Close to 100 million additional Americans have their personal identifying information placed at risk of identity theft each year.

Steve Weisman, one of the country’s leading experts on scams and identity theft, offers the following tips for cleaning digital house:

– Make birthdates private on Facebook. Hackers glean personal information, such as age and location, from social media accounts to piece together social security numbers. By keeping birthdates private and opting for snail mailed birthday wishes, identity thieves have one less resource.

– Delete saved credit card numbers. To safeguard against data breaches, remove credit card numbers on file with retailers and enter them anew with each purchase.
– Swap generic passwords with tailored phrases. Use a strong and unique password for each frequented online website. A password made up of a phrase such as “IDon’tLikePasswords$$$” combines capital letters, small letters and symbols and is easy to remember. Personalize for a particular site by taking a few letters from the site and adding it to the password. An Amazon password would be “IDon’tLikePasswords$$$Ama.”

– Remove old anti-virus and anti-malware software and install updated versions. Keep devices safe and secure with the latest software and security patches as soon as they are available. Keystroke logging malware can invade devices with weak security and capture credit card information.

Recently, I interviewed Steve on my BlogTalkRadio program. To hear the complete interview, click on the image below.

blogtalkradio