Tag Archives: Identity

Gambling With Your Identity

I see it all the time.

Some person will be just crazy about how they handle their personal information.

I see this because I have been aware of computer crime and mail fraud since I became a victim of it myself in 1999.

Unfortunately, I had gotten a friend involved in what I thought was a really great deal.

It turned out to be a complete scam, and not only did it cost each of us $600, just as we were entering our sophomore year of college, but it also cost me the trust of a friend, and was the start of the loss of that friendship.

That was one of the most expensive lessons I have ever learned in my life.

I still will pay back this friend, with interest, though this event is more than 14 years ago now.

Gambling with your identity is much different than playing in a casino.

In a casino, you’re intentionally walking into a Gaming Club of some kind.

When you know you’re walking into a fantasy world, either through online gaming and gambling or in a real casino, you still know that you’re there to lose some money.

In real life, you may never know you’re walking into a trap.

When you buy that fake computer from a fake guy who is offering you a deal that’s just too good to be true, chances are very good that the deal really is too good to be true.

But unless you improve your skills and knowledge, and approach transactions with a healthy dose of skepticism, you will never see the trap, until it’s too late.

 

Like we’ve been recommending for years on this site, you should probably walk away from a situation where you know something just doesn’t feel right.

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

If you get involved with someone who’s trying to scam you, it can end up being like you’re gambling with your identity.

If you lose your identity due to carelessness, it’s a tough and expensive lesson.

There’s really not much more to say today than this simple reminder to be alert, be aware, and get educated.

Make sure to protect your information and your identity, and have a plan in place before identity theft takes place.

 

Peek a Boo I See You: Facebook Searches Show All

Facebook has always had a questionable reputation when it comes to protecting users’ privacy. While the company prides itself in offering a variety of secure settings, you need to be aware that what you share on Facebook could be seen by anyone. And, now, so can you. Or, at least you’ll be easy to find by anyone searching for your name. This is due to the fact that Facebook is turning off the feature that allows users to remove their profile from the search. Not only can this be an invasion of your privacy, but it could lead to identity theft issues.

Why the Change?

Facebook decided to do away with the option of hiding yourself from the site’s search feature because they claim that only a small percentage of people use this option. What exactly is a small percentage to a company that sees literally billions of users each day? It could be thousands, if not millions, of users that wanted to protect their privacy.

How This Affects Identity Theft

The more a person can learn about you, the easier it is to steal your identity. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as your hobbies, your mailing address, or even your cell phone number. All the pieces add up. Once a person finds you on Facebook, the damage could be done quickly. Without the proper privacy settings in place, someone could find out a lot of information that would prove useful in identity theft. Continue reading Peek a Boo I See You: Facebook Searches Show All

How Buying Gold Online Could Protect You Against Identity Theft

Buying gold online protects you against Identity Theft?

That may seem like a stretch, but stick with me here for a minute because I’m going to show you how identity thieves are at least partially to blame for the global economic crisis, and how buying gold can help you hedge your bets against this crime.  Also, identity thieves in chat forums online are talking A LOT right now about how they are using stolen money, YOUR money, to buy gold through various gold sellers online. Buying gold (and silver) gives them the best methods for preserving their plunder and converting it into something tangible that will hold it’s value. Even criminals think buying gold (online or wherever they can get their hands on gold) is a good idea right now.

Buying Gold onlineIdentity Thieves Are at least partially responsible for the financial meltdown. And this does tie into protecting yourself through an online account which lets you buy real, physical gold.

  • Leverage your money by putting it into gold and silver.
  • Buy Gold Bullion.
  • Gold at all-time high, and buying online makes it easy!

So seems to be a common theme in advertising over the past few months as the price of gold has reached for the stars.

And anyone who thinks that identity theft and the financial meltdown are separate from one another clearly hasn’t taken the brief moment it takes to connect the dots.

So let me help connect the dots between identity theft, financial meltdown, and how buying gold is still a good idea and an excellent way to protect at least some of your assets (and yourself) against identity theft. Continue reading How Buying Gold Online Could Protect You Against Identity Theft

HIPAA: Did You Know Your Health Information Is Protected By Federal Law?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides rights and protections for participants and beneficiaries in group health plans. The Privacy Rule, a federal law, grants consumers rights over health information and promulgates rules and limitations on who can look at and receive personal health information. The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of individuals’ protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral.

The Security Rule, a Federal law that protects electronic health information, requires HIPAA-covered entities to ensure that electronic protected health information is secure.

Additionally, HIPAA includes protections limiting exclusions for preexisting conditions; prohibits discrimination against employees and dependents based on health status; and allows an opportunity to enroll in a new plan to individuals in certain circumstances. HIPAA may also grant a right to purchase individual coverage if no group health plan coverage is available, and for those who may have exhausted COBRA or other continuation coverage.

You have the right to receive a copy of your health records

You can ask to see and get a copy of your medical records and other health information. In most cases, copies must be provided within 30 days of being requested, though there may be a fee associated with the cost of copying and mailing.

You can ask to have corrections added to your health information

You can ask that any misinformation in your file be corrected, or you may request to add information to an incomplete file. For example, if you and your hospital agree that your file has the wrong result for a test, the hospital must change it. Even if the hospital believes the test result is correct, you still have the right to note your disagreement in your file. In most cases the file should be changed within 60 days of the request to amend or change.

You can receive a notice that tells you how your health information is used and shared

You have the right to know how your health information is being used and shared. Your provider or insurer must give you a notice that tells you exactly how they may use and share your health information. In most cases, you should receive this notice on your first visit to a provider, or in the mail from your health insurer. Additionally, you may request a copy at any time.

You can decide whether to give your permission before your information can be used or shared

Generally speaking, your health information cannot be given to your employer, used or shared for things like sales calls or advertising, or used or shared for many other purposes unless you grant express permission by signing anauthorization form. This authorization form must tell you who will get your information and what the information will be used for.

Who must follow this law?

Most doctors, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health care providers. Also required to follow this law are health insurance companies, HMOs, most employer group health plans, and certain government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Who receive and view your health information

To ensure your health information is protected in a way that does not interfere with treatment, your information can be used and shared:

  • For treatment and care coordination;
  • To compensate doctors and hospitals for your health care and help run their businesses;
  • With your family, relatives, friends, or others you identify who are involved with your health care or payment, unless you object;
  • To ensure doctors give good care and nursing homes are clean and safe;
  • To protect the public’s health, such as by reporting when there is a flu outbreak; and
  • For mandatory reports to the police, such as reporting gunshot wounds.

Your health information cannot be used or shared without your written permission unless this law allows it. For example, without your authorization, your provider generally cannot:

  • Give your information to your employer;
  • Use or share your information for marketing or advertising purposes; or
  • Share private notes about your health care.

You may request that your information not be shared

You can ask your provider or health insurer not to share your health information with certain people, groups, or companies, such as with other doctors or nurses in a particular hospital or clinic. However, they do not have to agree to do what you ask.

You have the right to file a complaint

You may file a complaint with your provider or health insurer if you suspect your information was used or shared in a way that is disallowed under the privacy law, or if you feel you were unable to exercise your rights.

Who Is Not Required to Follow These Laws

  • Life insurers;
  • Workers compensation carriers;
  • Most schools and school districts;
  • Many state agencies, for example child protective services;
  • Most law enforcement agencies; and
  • Many municipal offices.

When you make an original visit to a doctor’s office, hospital, or other health care provider, you should be given a copy of your HIPAA rights, which you will be asked to sign. Make sure you read the entire document, and request a copy for your own files.

Links:

How to file a complaint

HIPAA FAQs

Notice of privacy practices

Summary of HIPAA privacy rule (PDF)

U.S. Department of Labor HIPAA pages

LoJackForLaptops: The Low Down on LoJack

I have heard of Lo Jack for my dog, it is an implant that helps to locate him if lost or stolen. I’ve heard of LoJack for my car, which helps locate my car when it is stolen. But what about Lo Jack for my computer (A.K.A. LoJack for Laptops)? Will it protect my laptop and me?

Continue reading LoJackForLaptops: The Low Down on LoJack

Going Green with Your Old Computer; Not Your Identity

As more and more people are “going green” this includes decisions to recycle their old computer to charities, schools or even just dumping them thinking they are no longer working. But what about the information that is stored on those computers? Did you really erase your identity in the form of documents, spreadsheets, photos and other important information.. important to identity thieves that is!

Continue reading Going Green with Your Old Computer; Not Your Identity