Posts tagged "identity theft expert"
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.
I’ve had dozens of media requests for interviews and countless more email inquiries from people concerned about the Target data breach. At first, everyone just wanted to know details of how it happened, how big the breach was, and what they should do about it if their credit cards were at risk. Now that the initial shock of it is over, we are on to a bigger question:
How do we keep breach from negatively affecting so many Americans?
Breach will always happen. If it’s digital, it’s hackable. It’s coming to light that the Target breach may have been due to the computer access an HVAC WORKER (no, not an entire company, an individual WORKER) had to Target’s systems. While there is no guaranteed way of preventing fraud, there is a pretty reliable answer out there, and it’s been around for decades. That answer is for the US to finally catch up to more than 80 countries around the world and start using chip and PIN enabled credit cards, also known as EMV, smart cards, or microchip cards.
Recently, I was asked to do a segment for The Rachael Ray Show that demonstrated very visually how many audience members face immediate identity theft risks. Watching them move across the stage as we exposed two or three common sources of identity theft was remarkable. Once we had experienced the numbers, we ventured into the house of one of Rachael’s audience members to see how to mitigate the risk. Watch the video to see if you would have joined the “at risk” group, or read the transcript below:
Rachael: We had the audience stand back here because we all carry several items on any given day, EVERY given day, that put us at risk. So John, you’re going to weed out our audience so we can all learn in how many areas we are seriously at risk if we have certain items on us, correct?
It’s no surprise that identity theft once again tops the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams put forth by the IRS for 2014. They warn that if an identity thief has access to your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number or other identifying information, he or she may use it to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund in your name. Think of the implications for the 110 million victims of the recent Target data breach as well as victims of the hundreds of other breaches at other retailers, universities, healthcare providers, government agencies and so on.
KrebsOnSecurity reports that the information from the Target breach alone has reportedly flooded underground black markets and cards are being sold from around $20 to more than $100 each. This data is being sold in hundreds of online “stores” advertised in cybercrime forums. A fraud analyst at a major bank was able to buy a portion of the bank’s accounts from such a store.
Self-censorship on Facebook
Do you ever delete the words you type on Facebook before you hit post?
Have you ever started to type a status update that you thought was hilarious…until you realized your boss might not appreciate your 8th-grade humor? So what’d you do? You quickly hit the delete key and watched your comment disappear forever, right? Not exactly.
What if you are ready to make a snarky comment to Greg, the upperclass jerk who stole your high school girlfriend (and is about to get a divorce, ha ha), but decide to take the high road just before hitting the “post” button and instead, wish him well on his pending journey of love (despite the fact that it’s bound to fail)?
No harm done, right? You never hit the post button, so no one ever saw it! Well, it turns out that’s not quite how it works in Facebook Land.
Biometrics are like passwords, but worse.
Biometrics are like passwords that you leave everywhere (fingerprints, facial recognition, voice patterns), except that unlike passwords, you can’t change them when they’re lost or stolen. It’s easy to change your password, a bit harder to get a new retina. Like passwords, risk goes up as they are stored globally (in the cloud) versus locally (on a physical device).
In addition to the biometrics mentioned above that most of us have come to accept as commonplace, there are many other methods in use or under exploration:
- hand geometry
- vascular pattern recognition (analyzing vein patterns)
- iris scans
- signature geometry (not just the look of the signature, but the pen pressure, signature speed, etc.)
- gait analysis
- heartbeat signatures
Click the Photo to Watch the Video on the Rachael Ray Site
We wanted to share some good news! John will be appearing on CBS’s The Rachael Ray Show this Wednesday, January 29 to talk about the latest identity theft trends and threats. Watch a trailer of the show or find out when and where it airs in your area.
Rachael asked John to go into one of their audience members homes and pick it apart from a privacy standpoint. John took a look at everything, from items hidden under the mattress to filing cabinets, trash cans, computers, mobile devices and more. If you want to learn how to bulletproof your home and self against identity theft, tune in tomorrow morning to The Rachael Ray Show (CBS).
I got my start as an identity theft speaker. I write and speak on the importance of being vigilant about protecting yourself from identity theft and online fraud from many angles: the stress of trying to reestablish your credibility, rebuilding relationships, regaining control of your personal information, perhaps even fighting to stay out of jail as I had to do. So while I’m an identity theft speaker, my motivation is always completely human. We as humans make flawed decisions about how we fail to prepare for things like identity theft. We as humans are the ones that make the difference in fighting this crime. As it turns out, our wealth is at risk.
If you are one of the 40 million customers who have used a credit or debit card at Target stores in the United States between November 27 and December 15, you’d better start checking your accounts for fraudulent activity. Target confirmed that the data stored on the magnetic strip of cards (customer names, debit or credit card numbers, and card expiration dates) were taken, along with the three-digit security codes (CVVs) often imprinted on the backs of cards.
The type of data stolen would allow thieves to create counterfeit credit cards and, if pin numbers were intercepted, would also allow thieves to withdraw cash from ATM machines. Only in store purchases are at risk, so online shoppers need not worry.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder would not comment on how customers’ data were stored or encrypted prior to the attack, saying that would be part of the ongoing investigation. Target immediately notified law enforcement authorities and financial institutions, and the issue is being investigated by the Secret Service and a third-party forensics firm.