Latest "Identity Theft Prevention" Posts
How to Protect Yourself from the Equifax Data Breach
Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies disclosed that hackers compromised Social Security and driver’s license numbers as well as names, birthdates, addresses and some credit cards on more than 143 million Americans. If you have a credit profile, you were probably affected.
Credit reporting companies collect and sell vast troves of consumer data from your buying habits to your credit worthiness, making this quite possibly the most destructive data security breach in history. By hacking Equifax, the criminals were able to get all of your personally identifying information in a one-stop shop. This is the third major cybersecurity breach at Equifax since 2015, demonstrating that they continue to place profits over consumer protection. Ultimately, their negligence will erode their margins, their credibility and their position as one of the big three.
Identity thieves prey on those who are most vulnerable. You may be in the process of cleaning up your lives, but predators running disaster scams may want to clean up on you by stealing your valuable private information.
As we learned from Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, one of the most despicable side effects of a natural disaster is the massive increase in reported cases of identity theft in the affected areas. Thieves take advantage of those who are vulnerable, and those who have suffered flooding, wind damage and the effects of the storm are more vulnerable than ever. Imagine how devastating it would it be to apply for a line of credit to help your family recover from the storm only to find out that your entire net worth now belongs to a thief.
Here are some of the highest priority actions for victims of Hurricane Harvey to take once they have taken care of their immediate safety needs.
Click the image below for a PDF of 7 Steps to Preventing Identity Theft
Protecting your personal identity doesn’t need to be difficult. But it does take a bit of effort to minimize your digital footprint. The following action items are among the first you should take to protect yourself and your family. From there, we can go into greater detail on protecting the smartphones, laptops and Internet accounts that are increasingly being targeted.
Summary of ID Theft Protection Action Items
- Opt out of financial junk mail by registering at www.OptOutPreScreen.com.
- Shred any paper documents that would go in the trash with a durable and safe confetti document shredder.
It’s almost Cyber Monday, so tell me something – why do you shop online? Because it’s super convenient! Or because you get better pricing? Maybe it’s because you’re allergic to hand-to-hand combat on Black Friday? I’m a huge fan of shopping online to save time, money and brain cells. But if you have bad surfing hygiene, you’re just asking identity thieves to go on a shopping spree with your money. And it’s so easy to avoid if you know how. Which you’re about to.
Thanks for joining me here on Sileo on Security, where we believe there’s no need to fear online shopping if you surf wisely. I want to share nine habits with you over the next three episodes that will keep your digital shopping cart safer than the real thing.
Mark Zuckerberg Hacked Because of Weak Passwords
It seems Mark Zuckerberg might be a little lazy, or a little stupid, or at the very least a little embarrassed. The undisputed king of social media has had two of his social media accounts hacked. Granted, it was not his Facebook account—just his Pinterest and Twitter accounts, the latter of which he hasn’t used since 2012. A Saudi Arabian hacker team named OurMine has taken credit for the attack, claiming they got his password from the recent dump of information obtained in the LinkedIn data breach from 2012.
Let’s see where Mr. Zuckerberg went wrong by using the safe password development tips (in bold below) from his very own creation: Facebook.
Make sure your password is unique, but memorable enough that you don’t forget it. Supposedly, Zuckerberg’s password was “dadada”.
If I could give the world a gift this holiday season, it would be to make the world a safer place to trust. You deserve to know whether or not you can trust the politicians you elect, the advice you receive from your doctor and whether or not you can entrust your privacy to the websites and businesses you use every day.
Identity theft, cyber stalking, and “big data” surveillance—these byproducts of the information economy make it hard to rest easy. Every day in the news we hear about another scam, another breach of corporate data that victimizes more than 11 million Americans a year. But you don’t have to be a statistic!
Want more tips on how to protect yourself, your family and your wealth during the holiday season? Take a few minutes to read 12 Days to a Safe Christmas.
Come on, admit it. Don’t you feel just a little satisfaction watching 37 million adulterers exposed in the Ashley Madison hack? “They do kind of deserve to be cheated just a bit for being cheaters,” someone in one of my keynote speeches commented.
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.
Click Here for a Downloadable and Printable
25 Point Travel Safety Checklist (PDF)
Here are the same tips in text format
Before you go:
- Only book through a legitimate agency or website, as there are many travel scams out there. Read the fine print before signing.
- Pay for your travel arrangements with a credit card – it gives you some control in disputing charges.
- Stop your mail before leaving so that data thieves aren’t opening your financial mail for you.
- Turn on automatic account alerts on your credit card to easily monitor all transaction (via smartphone) without having to look at statements.
- Turn on remote tracking and wiping software on your phone so that if it is lost, you can locate and/or wipe the data off from anywhere.
- Make sure that your laptop computer has long, strong, alpha-numeric password encryption (BitLocker for Windows, FileVault for Mac).