12 Days to a Safe Christmas: Day 1 – Prevent Holiday Identity Theft

Holiday Security Tips: On the first day of Christmas, my expert gave to me, the keys to secure my privacy.  

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!

 Solution: Give yourself a gift by paying attention to prevention.

Let me be totally clear: you do not need to fear information over-exposure if you protect yourself before you get hit. Here is the secret to making peace with the privacy of your sensitive information:  

  • Adopt a preventative mindset and exercise before the information heart attack.
  • Re-accumulate privacy over time, changing habits one step at a time to regain what you’ve given away.
  • Make data privacy an attitude rather than a one-time checklist. Share with care, and only when totally necessary.

Over the next several weeks, will share 11 more tips on protecting your identity, your privacy and your hard-earned money during the holiday season. The 12 Days of Christmas will help you re-accumulate your privacy in time to be safe for whichever holiday you celebrate. Check back every few days for the next tip, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

In the meantime, happy shopping… and don’t stand under any pear trees (you can never trust those partridges)! On the second day of Christmas…

About Cybersecurity Keynote Speaker John Sileo

John Sileo is the founder and CEO of The Sileo Group, a cybersecurity think tank, in Lakewood, Colorado, and an award-winning author, keynote speaker and expert on technology, cybersecurity, and tech/life balance. He energizes conferences, corporate trainings and main-stage events by making security fun and engaging. His clients include the Pentagon, Schwab, and organizations of all sizes. John got started in cybersecurity when he lost everything, including his $2 million business, to cybercrime. Since then, he has shared his experiences on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper, and even while cooking meatballs with Rachel Ray. Contact John directly to see how he can customize his presentations to your audience.

9th Day: I’m Getting Nuttin’ (but Scams) for Christmas

Holiday Security Tips: On the ninth day of Christmas, the experts gave to me, 9 protected packages

Thieves are on the lookout for the delivery of packages, especially around the holidays.  Fed Ex and UPS packages might sit outside for hours, often in plain view from the street, making a mighty tempting target.  Not only can thieves grab the precious contents inside, but also the shipping labels often contain personal information the thieves love to get their hands on.

Solution: Ship packages to your work address, a PO Box or require a signature 

If your employer doesn’t mind your receiving packages at work, have them shipped there since someone is generally available during the day (when shipments arrive). If that doesn’t work, consider getting a PO Box at the post office during the holidays. When all else fails, ask to have your packages shipped with signature required so that they aren’t dropped off unless someone is there to sign.

Even if you didn’t put a tack on your teacher’s chair or tie a knot in Susie’s hair, you might get nuttin’ for Christmas if you don’t outsmart the thieves. On the tenth day of Christmas…

John Sileo helps businesses defend against data exposure by speaking at conferences looking for highly relevant content delivered with humorous audience interaction. See video clips of John on stage and in the media.

Identity Theives Don't Take A Holiday

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the biggest shopping time of the year. As we enter the season of giving there is one thing we should be stingy with – protecting our Identities!

Holiday madness, crazed shoppers and packed malls. While we are bustling from store to store and internet site to internet site trying to complete everyone’s holiday list, thieves and scammers are taking our distraction as a signal to strike. According to the author of Privacy Means Profit and identity theft expert John Sileo, “This is the easiest time of year for thieves to steal wallets, break into houses and profit financially from the season of giving without victims detecting it for a long time.”

With just three weeks until Christmas, now is the time to protect yourself and make sure that your Identity is safe from potential thieves. Just last month, Sileo was hired to speak to the Department of Defense and included some of the most important Holiday Safety Prevention Tips:

* Don’t trust your email. There are so many holiday scams by email that you should read everything with an enormous grain of salt. If someone is promising you something for nothing (free gift, free money, etc.), don’t buy it.
* Protect your home. Your greatest risk during the busyness is all of the extra people that come into your home. It makes it very easy to pocket a check book that’s on your desk or a brokerage statement in your filing cabinet. Especially during the holidays, lock it up!
* Use your credit card. Don’t use checks and don’t use a debit card, as they don’t give you nearly as much protection.
* Carry less in your wallet. It is too easy to steal a purse that is sitting at your feet as you pay or have lunch. The very best advice is to take your drivers license and one or two credit cards with you shopping.
* Watch your statements. Most forms of holiday identity theft can be caught simply by monitoring your checking, debit and credit card accounts frequently. Even better, sign up for automatic account alerts when any transaction occurs on your account.
* Give yourself the gift of Identity Monitoring.
* Shop on secure websites. Make sure that both the https:// and lock symbols appear in your browser.
* Be cautious in public. Don’t give your credit card number (or Social Security Number) over the phone if someone is within earshot.  Shield your PIN number when entering it at an ATM or card swipe.
* Donate to known charities and only when you have initiated the gift. Don’t respond to phone calls for charity.
* Rotate your credit cards. After the busy holiday shopping season is over, call your credit card company and ask them to issue you a new card (you can tell them that you are concerned that your credit card number was stolen).
* Don’t advertise travel plans to burglars on Social Networking sites.

Distraction is the worst enemy when it comes to crime and the holidays. In addition to spending more money, we tend to be busier, more stressed-out and less careful than other times of the year.  Identity thieves take advantage of this distraction to perform information extraction.

Identity theft expert John Sileo speaks around the world on identity theft, privacy, social networking exposure, cyber crime, social engineering and other forms of information theft. His clients include the Department of Defense, Blue Cross, FDIC, Pfizer and hundreds of organizations of all sizes. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076 or at

Identity Theft Statistics & Holiday Shopping

Identity theft statistics, dry as melba toast, have something to teach us about shopping this Holiday season. Listening to the media, you would think that the Internet and cybercrime are to blame for most cases of identity theft. They are biased toward technology stories because they are new and interesting (actually, they are starting to get old). If it’s not hackers and phishers, then its war driving and key logging.

But their technological bias is Wrong.

Cybercrime only accounts for 11% of actual identity fraud cases in the latest Javelin study and online shopping accounts for a meager 1%!

When it comes to victims having their identity stolen while making in-store purchases, women have a 94% incident rate and men only 43%. Women tend to shop more in stores, men online.
There is an important lesson in this confusion between reality and perception: don’t automatically believe everything you hear, especially in the media.  It’s sexy to write about cybercrime, but the disproportionate amount of attention it receives gives us a false sense that it is the leading cause of identity theft. As you start your holiday shopping, don’t be afraid to shop online, but only if you have protected your computer and internet connection properly.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Technology plays a smaller role in identity theft than we perceive
  • Most known cases of fraud are committed when the criminal has direct, physical access to the victim’s information
  • 43% of identity theft cases are the result of a lost or stolen wallet, checkbook, credit card or physical document
  • Friends and family members end up being the thief in a significant number of identity theft cases

– Statistics from The 2009 Identity Fraud Survey, Javelin Research

John Sileo speaks around the world on identity theft, privacy, social networking exposure, cyber crime, social engineering and other topics of information survival. His clients include the Department of Defense, Blue Cross, FDIC, Pfizer and hundreds of organizations of all sizes. He also coaches select clients on information survival. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.