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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, Sileo.com 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 Sileo.com 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.

Financial Planners: Give Your Clients Mobile Security this Holiday Season

Santa in summerWrap Up Your Mobile Security this Holiday Season!

Your clients compute almost as much on mobile devices as on desktop computers. They read banking and investment emails on their smartphones, log in to sensitive financial accounts via their iPad and store mission critical data on their laptops. But along with the freedom and efficiency of mobile computing comes a great deal of risk – risk that threatens their net worth. Small devices are easier to lose, simple to steal and are tempting targets for data theft. And to top it all off, your clients protect their mobile devices like mere phones and book readers, instead of the computers they really are.

So, if you are thinking ahead about what to get your best clients for the holidays, we have the answer.   How about a thorough list of privacy prevention practices to get them safely from Black Friday through New Year’s Eve?  Sure beats a reindeer sweater or a fruitcake!

Gather a group of your best clients and treat them to an hour of tried and true practical ideas to safeguard their privacy.  You provide the cookies and eggnog, we will provide the expertise and your clients will appreciate the useful gift!

We will provide simple, actionable tools to protect and enhance the mobile tools your clients use to do business. You will learn how to add value to your clients by helping them:

  • Lock down smartphones and tablets from thieves
  • Track mobile devices if stolen or misplaced
  • Safely use free Wi-Fi hotspots in cafés, airports and hotels
  • Determine which apps are safe and which aren’t
  • Evaluate mobile banking and investment apps

In addition to mobile security, we can customize the speech to cover other holiday hot topics, such as:

  • Protecting your identity from being stolen (think of poor George Bailey) at this busy time of year.
  • Becoming aware of what you unwittingly share on social media sites during the holidays.
  • Preventing your holiday parties at home or at work from becoming sources of data theft.

We’ll tie it all into a holiday theme to keep an edge of humor and the holiday spirit, all while delivering seriously practical ideas to protect your clients.  (Click here for a sample.)

Limited dates available. 

Call us today to secure your date The Sileo Group 303-777-3221

John Sileo is a keynote speaker and CEO of The Sileo Group, a privacy think tank that trains organizations to harness the power of their digital footprint. Sileo’s clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security, Van Wyk Risk and Financial Management and businesses looking to protect the information that makes them profitable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Protect Your Packages this Holiday Season!

Almost 20 billion packages will be delivered through the mail this holiday season. Even at $5 per package, that’s more than $100 Billion in value going through the mail–a scale too large and tempting for criminals to ignore.

Why do thieves target us during the holidays? In addition to the volume and value of holiday mail, criminals are taking advantage of the perfect winter storm:

  • Trucks are overloaded, mail & UPS carriers are overworked and shoppers are overwhelmed, which makes theft easy and attractive
  • Thieves take advantage not just of our good nature during the holidays, but of how distracted we are
  • Criminals see our generosity of giving as a goldmine waiting to be exploited

But picking packages off of your doorstep isn’t the only type of crime that skyrockets during December. Thieves don’t just want to steal the gifts inside your packages, they want the identity information that goes along with them: credit card numbers, bank accounts, invoices, even the checks that grandma sends in a holiday card. Check washers want to soak your checks in acetone, erase the Pay To field and replacing it with the word CASH.

How do we protect our mail and packages during the holidays, or any day?

  • Install a locking mailbox at your home and retrieve your mail early in the day, before criminals have a chance to steal it
  • Get a PO box during heavy mailing times and use that address for packages, sensitive documents or payments
  • Instead of putting outbound packages in your mailbox, drop them directly at the post office. Even the blue USPS boxes are commonly emptied by thieves at night.
  • Tell Grandma to stop sending cash! It’s too easy to steal and impossible to trace.
  • If you must send a physical payment through the mail, use high security checks like those provided by Deluxe.
  • Use UPS or FedEx to ship packages so that you can track their progress, insure the contents and require a signature at the other end.
  • If you generally aren’t at home when packages are delivered, have them shipped to your work so that they don’t sit on your porch for hours.
  • Check out our 12 Days to a Safe Christmas for more tips on protecting yourself against cyber crime, party crashers and Facebook stalkers during the season.

Take these simple tips when sending gifts and cards and you won’t lose your valuable data and goods to the identity theft Grinches.

 

Don't Have a Fraudulent Valentine's Day

Romance is in the air, but so is fraud.

I hate it when scammers take advantage of you on holidays. In fact, I don’t much like being the person responsible for telling you that fraud goes way up during holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. But it’s my job, and it’s important to me, and you have nothing to worry about if you are using common sense. In case your common sense is lacking due to all of the chocolate, here are some thoughts on Valentines Scams.

In happy and/or busy moments, people tend to let their guard down. Consumers are happier, more trusting, generous and hopeful around Valentine’s Day. This is a good thing. We want people to be happy, in love and celebrating each other.

I just don’t want you to be so distracted that it gives an identity thief an opening to take advantage of you. Around this time there is a rise of online scams, especially where thieves send out malicious links that direct you to a site where you are tricked into giving personal information.

The problem with malicious links is that they appear to be sent by someone you trust, especially when they come from a friend on Facebook or another social netowork. Most people click on them because they look like they are from a friend, legitimate company, bank, or other business that you have dealt with in the past. Also, around Valentines day, the message might appear to be from a  flower, candy or gift company that is giving you some amazing offer, and all you have to do is click!

While these malicious links can be sent by email most people don’t realize you can get them via Facebook, Twitter, IM, or even text message. Scammers have gotten more sneaky and creative with their methods of attack. With Valentines Day right around the corner they will be disguised as friends or businesses tapping into your romantic, loving, and trusting side.

Watch out for companies offering you 50% off on 1-800-flowers if you purchase them from their (phony) site. Maybe it’s a free offer from Match.com or link a “friend” has sent to check out the best Valentine’s Day gifts this year. In other words, just be extra careful about anything you click on that has to do with the holiday. You are better off typing the URL of where you want to go (flower store, chocolates, etc.) in the address bar.

Here are a few ways that criminals hid Malicious links so that you have a harder time spotting them:

  • A slight misspelled version of a trusted URL
  • Using a URL shortener (Tiny, bit.ly) to hide the actual URL
  • Use simple HTML formatting to hide the real URL. This is very common and hard to spot because while you are clicking on www.firstbank.com it is actually a dangerous link in disguise that takes you to a malicious site.

Here are a few ways that you can protect yourself for being duped this Valentine’s Day.,

  1. Always type the website you wish to visit directly into the browser. Do not click on a link and just assume that it is safe.
  2. Don’t click on anything that has been sent from someone you don’t know or from someone you do know but seems out of character.
  3. Don’t click on anything that said it was sent by your bank or any other bank. Call the bank up directly to verify the email and type their web address into your browser.
  4. Don’t click on a link that says it is an urgent situation. Many times, scammers will try to scare you into thinking you have to click now or something bad will happen. That is never the case. Call the company directly on their known phone number to handle the situation.
  5. And most importantly, unlike true love, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Research it further.

On this Valentines Day, make sure that you don’t get swept up in the moment and taken advantage of by a scammer. No matter what the holiday is, always make sure that you are thinking with your head and not just with your heart when protecting your most important asset… your identity.

John Sileo loves Valentine’s Day because he gets to celebrate with his wife, whom he has had a crush on since he was 8. He is the author of Privacy Means Profit and earns his keep delivering highly motivational identity theft speeches.