Category Archives: Identity Theft Protection

Fear of the FBI hopes to make you respond to this identity theft email

As one of the not so lucky people affected by the Yahoo security break, my email in box and spam box get a lot more work than they used to and some of the plots, plans and scams make me laugh.  Other’s could cause a reader to rapidly respond out of fear.  One thing they all have in common, they are lying to me to get information.  Here is the most recent one you should know about and how you can know this email is fake when and if you get one.

————————-Email stated below

RE:  Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) !!! !!! !!! (I am pretty sure that 1) the FBI would not email me and 2) that they would know that it is bad manners and bad writing to use all 9 of those exclamation points.)

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Intelligence Field Unit
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.
(Pretty convincing – I give them credit for looking it up)
URGENT ATTENTION: BENEFICIARY
I AM SPECIAL AGENT _____________ (I’ve deleted just in case this Agent truly does exist)  FROM THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) INTELLIGENCE UNIT, WE HAVE JUST INTERCEPTED AND CONFISCATED TWO (2) TRUNK BOXES AT JFK AIRPORT IN NEW YORK, AND ARE ON THE VERGE OF MOVING IT TO OUR BUREAU HEADQUARTER.
 WE HAVE SCANNED THE SAID BOXES, AND HAVE FOUND IT TO CONTAIN A TOTAL SUM OF $4.1 MILLION AND ALSO BACKUP DOCUMENT WHICH BEARS YOUR NAME AS THE RECEIVER OF THE MONEY CONTAINED IN THE BOXES, INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT ON THE DIPLOMAT WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE BOXES INTO THE UNITED STATES HAS IT THAT HE WAS TO DELIVER THIS FUNDS TO YOUR RESIDENCE AS PAYMENT WHICH WAS DUE YOU FROM THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA FROM UNPAID CONTRACT SUMS.
WE CROSS-CHECKED ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTATION IN THE BOXES, AND WERE ABOUT TO RELEASE THE CONSIGNMENT TO THE DIPLOMAT,WHEN WE FOUND OUT THAT THE BOXES IS LACKING ONE VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION WHICH AS A RESULT, THE BOXES HAS BEEN CONFISCATED.
 ACCORDING TO SECTION 229 SUBSECTION 31 OF THE 1991 CONSTITUTION IN TAX PAYMENT, YOUR CONSIGNMENT LACKS PROOF OF OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE FROM THE JOINT TEAM OF THE IRS AND HOMELAND SECURITY, AND THERE FOR, YOU MUST CONTACT US FOR DIRECTION ON HOW TO PROCURE THIS CERTIFICATE, SO THAT YOU CAN BE RELIEVED OF THE CHARGES OF EVADING TAX WHICH IS A PUNISHABLE OFFENSE UNDER SECTION 12 SUBSECTION 441 OF CONSTITUTION ON TAX EVASION. Continue reading Fear of the FBI hopes to make you respond to this identity theft email

Will New Innovations From 2013 International CES Put Your Information at Risk?

The 2013 International CES was host to plenty of exciting exhibits to choose.  Revenues for consumer electronics are expected to keep growing to new record levels! At the show, over 20,000 new products were launched from more than 3,250 exhibitors, making it a sure bet that there is something for everyone being revealed. There’s always a lot of excitement for CES because it’s often a first look at the years’ best new innovations.

Going Wireless in More Ways

There were more than 1,200 exhibitors showing off their wireless technology this year. Wireless technology is taking center stage at CES this year, including new and improved smartphones and tablets, making it more important than ever that people understand how to protect their information and identity when using these devices.

With that many exhibitions, there are bound to be plenty of awesome gadgets and programs, but Continue reading Will New Innovations From 2013 International CES Put Your Information at Risk?

Resource for Learning about Security and Cybercrimes

In the last several years, cybercrime has become an increasing problem, especially with its ever evolving nature. The criminals using cyber methods to get what they want are smarter than your average thief, which means that to really protect yourself from this sort of crime, it’s smart to learn as much as you can about how these crimes happen. One great place to start is at Master of Homeland Security list of the Top 100 National Security Resources.

While a list of one hundred different sites is an immense amount of information to explore, there are a few on the list that really stand out, either because they are very informative or just simply an interesting collection of information. Not all of the sites necessarily pertain to cybercrime, but they all are security related.

First on the list is In Homeland Security, a site which provides news and information about both terrorism and homeland defense. The information isn’t just limited to the US either. There are several international news articles.

Then, second on the list is a really interesting blog by the TSA which Continue reading Resource for Learning about Security and Cybercrimes

Digital Assets and Death

Chances are you have a will and other paper documents that have been prepared in the event of your death. What you may not have is information on how family members can access your digital assets upon your death. It’s something that many never think to disclose. However, if family members don’t have access to this information, it can be difficult to follow the instructions in your will. Not only that, but family members may also have trouble accessing important files, such as family photos. The following explains the importance of giving access to digital assets to your family upon your death and how to do it.

Many people rely on online financial institutions for a number of services. You may have your IRA account, life insurance, and at least one bank account through an online company that doesn’t have physical offices. Without passwords, it can be impossible for family members to access this information. This means that it may be impossible for them to pay for a proper funeral or carry out your final wishes. If you work online, you may also have quite a bit of money in a PayPal account and have clients that need to be notified. All of which your family will need to know about.

It’s not only financial accounts that your family will want to access. Chances are you also have a number of family photos stored digitally. These photos should be passed down and cherished by your family, not be erased because no one knew they were on the hard drive.

There are actually a number of ways you can help your family access your digital assets. When it comes to passwords, you never want to have a file in your home that contains this information. However, what you can do is create a list of accounts and log-in information and put it in a safe deposit box at the bank. The key could then be placed with your will along with instructions on where the deposit box is located. You could also have a trusted family member keep the file. When it comes to family photos, you could also make a note in your will about their location.

Digital assets are often overlooked, but this can really hurt your family. If you want to make sure your family accesses all your accounts upon your death, you need to find a way to share this information. Whether you share your passwords before your death or leave clues on where to find the information in your will, you can make it easier for your family to move forward.

Identity Theft Risks: Cross-Dressing Not Uncommon

In a recent story, an Iowa man was arrested for impersonating a woman in order to steal her identity. Not only did the man go so far as to dress like the woman, but he also used her information to obtain a driver’s license. Charged with theft, identity theft, and forgery, the man will face 10 years in prison. This leaves people wondering how common it is for people to cross-dress in order to steal someone’s identity.

A search on Google reveals that it’s quite common for people to cross-dress to make identity theft easier. Not only was a man caught in Florida cross-dressing to use stolen credit cards, but one man in California dressed like his victim for 13 years before finally being caught. Of course, it’s not only checks and credit cards that are getting stolen by cross-dressing identity thieves. Some are using identities to steal medical services.

It’s truly shocking the number of crimes that have been carried out by those dressed as the opposite sex. Not only do people have to worry about others of their own gender stealing their identity, but they have to worry about everyone stealing their identity. What’s stranger is that cross-dressing isn’t the most extreme changes people have made to steal someone’s identity.

Some people may goes as far as to alter their appearance. This is very common with Continue reading Identity Theft Risks: Cross-Dressing Not Uncommon

Did hacktivist group Antisec take a big bite out of Apple?

Hactivist group Antisec strikes again – or did they?  Did they manage to take a bite out of the big “Apple” and do it from and FBI agent’s Dell notebook?  According to the Anonymous-allied hackers, they have and it’s been reported that a list of 12.4 million Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDID) was gained.   This information also provided user names, device names and types and for some it included names, addresses, cell and home phone numbers.  Sounds like an identity theft nightmare, or it would be if Antisec wasn’t playing “Robin Hood” to the FBI’s Sheriff John, or so the story goes.

Did this hacking really happen?

According to the FBI (Oh no you didn’t!) .  A recent FBI statement denies stating,  “The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs was exposed. At this time, there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.”

According to Antisec, Continue reading Did hacktivist group Antisec take a big bite out of Apple?

Preventing Identity Fraud without Getting Ripped Off in the Process

Most of us realize the importance of preventing identity fraud. If your identity is stolen, despite the fact there are consumer protections in place, many victims due suffer some financial loss and it can take years of frustration to clean up credit that is damaged in the process.

There have unfortunately been a large number of consumers who have been ripped off by companies who appear to be legitimate or seem to be looking after their best interests. They might receive an email that looks like it’s coming from a trusted source such as a bank or utility company tricking consumers into giving out their personal information. Everyone should become familiar with the most important steps in preventing identity fraud.

Important steps in preventing identity fraud

Just a few of the crucial steps all consumers should take in preventing identity fraud include:

  • Never divulging your personal or financial information to anyone who requests it via email. If you believe it is coming from a trusted source, call the company and do not respond directly to the email.
  • Protect your social security number, credit card and debit numbers, your PIN numbers, passwords and all other personal information.
  • Be sure and create strong passwords, and change them frequently. The best passwords contain capital and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Protect all of your incoming and outgoing mail, and shred any of your financial trash.
  • Always keep a close eye on your bank account statements, credit card bills and your credit record to spot fraudulent activity quickly.

Credit Card Protection

While it’s crucial to be prudent about protecting your identification and financial information, unfortunately there are also companies who will take advantage of consumers who are worried about having their identity stolen, and potentially thousands of dollars in the process.

While one would think that a company offering credit card protection would be concerned about a consumer’s privacy and financial well-being, there are more than a few who are scam artists out to take advantage of those who are wary.

Recently, Capital One Financial Corporation was forced to pay $210 million to settle allegations that they used call-center contractors who pressured consumers into buying credit protection products, and both the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission has advised that some credit protection offers are not worth the money.

Consumers who prepare themselves by doing their due diligence before accepting such offers can avoid being ripped off. Arm yourself with knowledge and know your rights as a consumer, and you can greatly lessen your chances of identity fraud as well as being ripped off by unnecessary services.

Guest post by Lisa Mason

Lisa Mason is a freelance writer and VP of Special Media for Social Media Sun.

450,000 email addresses and passwords stolen from Yahoo: Is yours one of them?

Linking up accounts and services seems like it could make life easier doesn’t it?  Until you link things up on the Internet so closely that one security breach could lead to several from you email accounts to your PayPal accounts as well as the services you use on sites like Yahoo, MSN and Google.  A recent theft of over 450,000 log-in credentials were discovered from a Yahoo service.   Unfortunately this theft was not limited to just Yahoo services as many people link up their services with their email address, no matter what provider they may have.

The hackers, “D33Ds Company” released a statement about the incident stating  that this should be a wake up call to Yahoo for “lax security.”

“We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat. There have been many security holes exploited in webservers belonging to Yahoo! Inc. that have caused far greater damage than our disclosure. Please do not take them lightly. The subdomain and vulnerable parameters have not been posted to avoid further damage.”

While the theft of this data is scary, what is even more frightening is that according to TrustedSec the passwords and information were stored completely unencrypted.

Chief technology officer at Eurosecure, antivirus vendor ESET’s distributor in Scandinavia, Anders Nilsson, revealed that the most common domain names for the leaked email addresses were aol.com, gmail.com hotmail.com and yahoo.com. You can find even more statistics about this incident and the services affected on his blog.  Surprisingly enough the most common password is the one that everyone is told not to use and out of approximately 342,000 entries, 1,666 of them use the password 123456.

If you want to know if you have been compromised Continue reading 450,000 email addresses and passwords stolen from Yahoo: Is yours one of them?

Does the Card Act discriminate against stay at home moms and dads?

Credit cards are often regarded as a necessary evil. They can cause personal financial strife, but most agree that everyone should hold at least one credit card, even if only for emergency purposes. Still, there is no doubt thet credit cards were partly responsible for the financial crisis of 2008 that continues to this day and the severity of this crisis prompted the U.S. Congress to pass the CARD Act. Immediately signed into law by President Obama, this act was celebrated as a much- needed protectionary plan that would force credit card companies to treat their customers more fairly and without as much deception.

 The CARD Act was heralded as a victory for the consumer, but regardless of how much praise the act has received, there is one part of the measure that receives little attention but deserves more. According to the new rules, a stay at home mom or dad can no longer claim their spouse’s income to apply for and receive a credit card. They can only claim their own, and that means they will no longer qualify for credit- a fact that has many stay at home mothers and fathers demanding new reforms.

 When the CARD Act and its provisions were originally drafted, it was assumed that limiting credit to one’s own income would not be an important issue. Spouses could still get a credit card issued jointly to both, so a stay at home mom or dad would not be left out in the cold without the security of a credit card. Still, some say this provision of he CARD Act is unfair and even potentially dangerous. What if a woman is in an abusive situation and needs her credit card as a means of escape? Without her own credit card in her own name, the other spouse could quickly cancel the jointly held card and the victim of abuse would have no means to obtain credit. Even in the absence of danger, many argue that it is still important for the stay at home spouse to obtain his/her own credit for independence reasons.

Is the ability to obtain credit really that important or necessary for a stay at home mom or dad? There are certainly those who believe it is and some have already taken action to initiate reform.  Holly McCall, a Virginia stay at home mother of two, has started a petition to reform the CARD Act on the web site change.org and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D- NY) urges changes in the law to protect stay at home moms and dads who want to maintain their independence. The ability to obtain credit, they argue, is fundamental and to deny this access is to rivert back to the outdated policies of the past. Furthermore, proponents of reform argue that a stay at home spouse should not be penalized for making a personal sacrifice in favor of raising children.

The CARD Act has made life easier for credit card holders in multiple ways. Credit card issuers must now disclose payoff information on every credit card statement, end certain marketing practices to students, mail statements well in advance of due dates, and make other reforms intended to help the consumer. Lost in all of this is the provision on credit access for the stay at home parent, but there are many individuals fighting for reform. Without it, a stay at home mom or dad will be without the ability to obtain individual credit and will remain at the financial mercy of his/her spouse. Considering the high divorce rate and other social concerns, this reform deserves some immediate attention and with the grassroots movement and political support from U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney, changes to the CARD Act, for better or for worse, may be just around the corner.

 

Guest post courtesy of Bryan Carey, Houston Finance Examiner and co-author at Money Saving Parent.com.