Posts

The Grinch Effect: Identity Theft at Holiday Parties

Grinch Identity Theft

Huzzah! The holiday party season has officially begun! It is my favorite time of year because I try to take a few weeks off of the professional speaking circuit to slow down to a normal pace. Over the coming weeks, all of the Whos in Whoville gather to celebrate the communities to which we all belong. Whether it is a neighborhood party, a work celebration or an association shindig (okay, I’m starting to use words that my parents use), it is a great time to honor our friendships, colleagues and causes.

Unfortunately, the abundance of the season attracts malcontents who try to take advantage of our happiness and busy-ness. I call this the Grinch Effect: stealing from others while they are lost in a brief moment of joy. Like the Grinch pilfering the last stocking from the fireplace, identity thieves use our distraction to pluck pieces of private data from our festive homes. Enough already! If you are hosting a holiday party (either at your  home or in your office), here are some tips on protecting your identity to foster holiday serenity: Read more

Electronic Pickpocket Video – Identity Theft Expert

There is a new wave of Hi-Tech Identity Theft that the average person has no idea is possible. Identity Thieves are able to steal your credit card information without even touching your wallet.

RFID, or radio-frequency identity technology was introduced to make paying for items faster and easier. What many probably didn’t expect is that the same technology can be used by thieves to get your payment information just as easily. All major credit cards that have this technology have a symbol (pictured to the right). It means that your card can communicate via electromagnetic waves to exchange data (your credit card number) between a terminal and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification. With a quick scan of the card, the same way you would scan it to pay for items,  all of your payment information is directed towards a source or identity thief’s computer in this case.

With a laptop and an antenna, it’s possible that a virtual pickpocket can steal credit card information, without ever touching their victim.  All that is needed is a credit card reader that you can purchase online and a laptop computer. With a simple scan the crook can lift your credit card number, expiration date, and in some cases your name. Since 2006 all U.S. passports also have RFID technology so identity thieves are able to scan those just as easily and pick up more personal information in order to rip you off. These passports contain specific contact information as well as date of birth.

The statistics on this type of theft are not available because the detection rate is low and it is so new. There would be no way right now to prove that this method was used over other similar methods that steal your card information. There are a few ways you can protect yourself.

First, set up account alerts and monitor your statements. That way if your credit card is compromised you can detect it immediately and take the necessary steps to contact the bank, report the fraud, and cancel the card. Second there are sleeves and wallets built to protect your cards and make them unable to scan and be lifted. Several companies make products that create an RFID shield by blocking the electromagnetic energy necessary to power and communicate with contactless smart cards, passports, and enhanced drivers licenses.

Before you finish this article, pull out all of your cards to see if they have the sonar symbol above. Even one of these puts you at risk.

John Sileo is the award-winning author of Stolen Lives and Privacy Means Profit (Wiley, August 2010), a professional Financial Speaker and America’s leading identity theft expert. His clients include the Department of Defense, FTC, FDIC and Pfizer; his recent media appearances include 60 Minutes. Contact him on 800.258.8076.

Are Your Kids Safe Online?

As a parent you are often worried about what your kids are being exposed to on the Internet. Apparently so are Facebook and the PTA. They have teamed up to teach parents and children about responsible Internet use. They plan to cover cyber-bullying, internet safety and security and “citizenship online,” according to a news release.

“Nothing is more important to us than the well-being of the people, especially the many teenagers, who use Facebook,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer.

Facebook is the number one social media site with over 500 million users and a minimum age requirement of 13. Even that requirement can be easily fudged because Facebook has no way of verifying a user’s age besides asking for their birth date when they register. Parents are having trouble deciding whether to let their children join Facebook prematurely and what they should be cautious of if they do so.

Learn more on Protecting Your Children Online.

It is important to be educated when dealing with any form of social media or social networking website. Social networking is immensely powerful and is here for the long run, but we must learn to harness and control it. You should know the ins and outs, pros and cons, risks and rewards to using these online tools. Because teens and children don’t necessarily have the life experiences to recognize the risks, parents must educate themselves and pass that knowledge on with open and honest discussions on Facebook and Online Safety.

John Sileo became one of America’s leading Social Networking Speakers & sought after Identity Theft Experts after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

Facebook Safety Survival Guide

Introducing the Newest Guide to Protect you & your family’s identity:

Facebook Safety
Survival Guide

Includes the

Parents’ Guide to Online Safety

Order your copy Today to get our special introductory pricing of $12.95 or order the Ebook below for only $9.95 !

There is no final word on how to use Facebook safely. Here’s why: social networking and the web change too quickly. The social network you use today is not the same one you will use tomorrow or next month. The privacy settings, functionality, connectability and features are constantly evolving, which means that almost no one has a handle on every aspect of this topic. Those who tell you that they have the final answer are probably selling you something you shouldn’t buy.

This Survival Guide is an evolving document that I started writing for my young daughters and my employees, and is an attempt to give you a snapshot of some of the safety and privacy issues as they exist right now. Social networking, texting, instant messaging, video messaging, blogging – these are all amazing tools that our kids and employees use natively, as part of their everyday lives. In fact, they probably understand social networking better than most adults and executives. But they don’t necessarily have the life experiences to recognize the risks. I’d like to make their online vigilance and discretion just as native, so that they learn to protect the personal information they put on the web before it becomes a problem. Social networking is immensely powerful and is here for the long run, but we must learn to harness and control it.

So whether you are reading this to help protect your own online presence, or the reputation and sensitive data inside of your business, or to bulletproof your kids from some of the harmful forces on the web, the Facebook Safety Survival Guide should get you started.

This Facebook Safety Guide includes:

  • Action Item Checklist for Facebook Safety
  • Action Item Checklist for Parents’ Guide to Online Safety

Part I: Facebook Safety Survival Guide

  • Protecting People We Care About
  • Social Networking’s Secret Weapon: Trust
  • Fifteen Hazards of Social Networking
  • Fifteen Steps to Safer Facebooking
  • 10 Types of Information to Keep Private
  • Customize Your Privacy Settings: Control Who Can See Your Personal Information & A Tool to Test Your Facebook Privacy
  • How Do I Delete My Facebook Account?
  • How To Deactivate Your Facebook Account
  • How To Delete Your Facebook Account

Part II: Parents’ Guide to Online Safety

  • Socializing Online: Sexting & Cyberbullying
  • Communicating Online & Phishing
  • Mobile Phones: Socializing and Communicating on the Go & Texting
  • Protect Your Computers: P2P File Sharing & Parental Controls

© Copyright 2010 John D. Sileo All Rights Reserved

John Sileo became one of America’s leading Social Networking Speakers & sought after Identity Theft Experts after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

Top 5 Reasons Corporations Educate Employees on Identity Theft

Why do corporations care (and spend money) to educate employees about protecting personal identity?

After all,  most businesses are profit-driven and only have time and resources to concentrate on initiatives that affect their bottom line. In effect, that is the answer to the question… Read more