From children taking out mortgages to dead people filing income tax returns, identity thieves are stealing the lives of our most vulnerable citizens – damaging their credit, their reputation and their families’ peace of mind. Find out what you can do to protect your loved ones from the Number One crime reported by Americans – consumer identity theft.
Monthly Archive: July 2011
There has been a data breach at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and its chief information officer has stated he is “grateful no Social Security numbers or financial information were released” but will still provide affected patients with one year of free identity-protection service. A machine at the hospital was found to be infected with a computer virus, which transmitted data files to an unknown location. The Boston Globe says “the computer contained medical record numbers, names, genders, and birth dates of 2,021 patients, as well as the names and dates of radiology procedures they’d undergone.”
What are you doing to protect against identity theft and related fraud? Learn the root causes — and then watch an important video from the FTC that shares real-world tips for protecting your sensitive personal information.
Guest Blogger Nikki Junker, Social Media Coordinator and Victim Advisor for the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), shares some of the scams that have been sent to her in just the last 24 hours.
According to tech blog TechVibes, growing online security concerns are why only 47% of Canadian businesses actively use cloud computing. For a neat comparison, check out the link to see an infographic that points to higher international figures: 70% of U.S. businesses, 68% of UK businesses, and 61% of German businesses use cloud computing regularly, despite obvious threats to privacy.
Just say no! That’s right, learn to decline politely the next time someone asks you for your Social Security number. Guard that number for yourself, and your children, as overusing your number is one of the best ways for identity theft to happen to you. This MSNBC article points out that “when most people’s addresses, full names, and birth dates are easily found on the Internet, the Social Security number is often the last piece of information preventing online thieves from having enough data to steal your identity. That’s why governmental and medical data breaches, such as happened recently in Texas and in Massachusetts, are so dangerous. Millions of people had their Social Security numbers exposed for all the world to see.”
Not only are data-breach victims more likely to be fraud targets, but did you know that your kindergartner might already have bad credit? That’s right – identity fraud is way more prevalent than you’d ever imagined, and more and more information is revealing how easily kids are quickly being victimized as well. Only after a child becomes an adult and gets rejected for a car loan or student loan is the crime exposed. This, of course, leads to the difficult task of trying to undo years – decades, perhaps — of damage. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice recently held a joint forum to discuss ways to end the problems of child identity theft.
The Huffington Post asks if identity providers are all in the business to make money, why should Facebook — or any other private company — be willing to act as an identity provider for federal sites? The article points out that “if Facebook won’t serve as an identity provider for a U.S. government website, then the user has to change providers when she wants to access that website. And changing providers in the middle of a session might mean that a user doesn’t go back to using their Facebook credential after the transaction. Facebook doesn’t want to lose her during the web session. So various identity providers are willing to act as identity providers for U.S. government sites even if the providers can’t make use of the information they’ve learned.”
They serve and fight to protect freedom and security. So should members of the military be banned from using social networks in order to ensure their online privacy and offline security?
Hackers breached Kiplinger’s Personal Finance network as early as June 25 and stole user names, passwords, and encrypted credit card numbers from as many as 142,000 subscribers to the magazine or the company’s various newsletters, including the Kiplinger Letter. This Bloomberg news article says the stolen information can sometimes be “used in so-called phishing scams to gain more valuable data or for identity theft” and that “while the credit-card numbers were encrypted,” encryption in rare cases can be broken. Kiplinger is advising customers to call their banks and replace the card numbers.
Check out this article and read more about the five new entries that are now part of private-i’s “How To” section. From mobile-phone privacy to managing browser security settings, it’s never been easier to protect your privacy online. Want to learn a trick to out-smart GPS tracking via your smartphone? We’ve got that covered too!
ABC News reports that sensitive information belonging to 34,000 investment clients of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney has been lost, and possibly stolen, in a data breach. The news article says the information includes clients’ names, addresses, account and tax identification numbers, the income earned on the investments in 2010, and — for some clients — Social Security numbers. The information was contained on two password-protected — but not encrypted — CD-ROMS that went missing.