Archive for February, 2012
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
Javelin Strategy & Research, reports that there has been an increase of 13 percent in identity Theft in 2011.
In 2010, roughly ten million adults were victims of ID fraud. In 2011, that number rose to 11.6 million adults. Javelin Strategy & Research’s long-running study surveyed 5,022 US consumers in October 2011 in order pinpoint the impact of fraud, as well as the prime areas of vulnerability. The fraud report found that, in 2011, the main catalysts for the rise in ID theft incidents were the rampant data breaches, negligent smartphone security and publicly displayed personal information on social media sites.
Some good news, though (kind of). The costs of identity fraud haven’t increased. Compared to 2004, the consumer’s out-of-pocket costs have actually decreased by 44 percent. The report believes that this is due to the crack-down on authentication by institutions, as well as consumer awareness efforts by the government and institutions.
Key to the large number of identity theft incidents was the increase in data breaches, use of smartphones, and increased social networking in 2011.
Popularity: 37% [?]
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
About 12 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2011, an increase of 13 percent over 2010, according to a report by the research firm Javelin Strategy & Research.
The rise in the use of smartphones and social media by consumers fueled the increase in identity fraud, while several big data breaches also played a key role. With the rise in credit card monitoring and more sophisticated policing by credit card companies, identity thieves see users of smartphones and social media as easy victims, as they just don’t seem too concerned about security.
“The message is not that people should let their guard down,” Javelin founder and President Jim Van Dyke said. “The challenge that we have is that criminals often change faster than everyday consumers or businesses.”
Javelin offered some great tips to avoid becoming an identity fraud victim:
- Password protect your home and mobile devices. Avoid exposing personal information that can be used by someone else for identity verification.
- Be careful about the apps you download. Only download through a service that monitors the apps, such as iTunes.
- Share information carefully when you are on a public wifi network.
- Monitor your credit cards by checking their use online or reading the statements carefully. Quickly report to your credit card issuer if you see any suspicious transactions.
- Take data breach notifications seriously. If your data has been accessed, consider subscribing to a credit-monitoring service, which is often is offered for free for a year by the company that had been breached.
Popularity: 6% [?]
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
It’s tax time and identity thieves are on the prowl for your personal information. How can you protect yourself? Here are two simple tips that will go a long way in protecting you:
1. The IRS will never communicate with you via email. Therefore, if you receive an email from the IRS asking you to take some kind of action, such as giving out your personal information, delete it. Better yet, report it to the IRS.
2. Do your homework before choosing a tax preparer. There are several false tax preparation service providers out there, set up with the sole intention of getting their hands on your personal data. Check the preparer’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau, the state’s board of accountancy for CPAs, the state’s bar association for attorneys or the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility for legitimate agents.
Popularity: 22% [?]
Friday, February 17th, 2012
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) just published its annual “Dirty Dozen” tax scams list, which describes the various scams taxpayers are running into all year long (but especially at tax time). Identity theft is at that top of the 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list.
In response to growing identity theft concerns, the IRS is dedicated to preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible. In addition to the law-enforcement crackdown, the IRS is increasing internal reviews to spot false tax returns before tax refunds are issued and is working to help victims of identity theft refund schemes resolve their issues.
Identity theft cases are some of the most complex scams the IRS handles, and is becoming more of a problem as identity thieves increasingly look for ways to use a legitimate taxpayer’s identity and personal information to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. An IRS notice telling a taxpayer that more than one return was filed in the taxpayer’s name or that the taxpayer received wages from an unknown employer is often the first tip the individual receives that he or she has been victimized. Anyone who believes his or her personal information has been stolen and used for tax purposes should immediately contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit.
Phishing scams were listed as one of the common ways in which scammers get personal data from taxpayers. Victims are tricked into revealing their data by an unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site. Once a thief gets this information, he or she can commit identity theft or financial theft. If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the “Dirty Dozen” list and how to protect yourself, visit the IRS website.
Popularity: 36% [?]
Thursday, February 16th, 2012
According to Reuters, U.S. legislators are pressuring Apple Inc to require iPhone and iPad apps to seek “explicit approval” in separate user prompts before they can access users’ address book data.
Recently, members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee asked Apple to provide more information about its privacy policies. This might have been in response to bloggers’ claims that some of the applications in Apple’s App Store can access private address book data without user consent.For example, San Francisco startup that makes a Facebook-like social networking app was criticized after a Singaporean developer discovered that Path’s iPhone app had been quietly uploading his contacts’ names and phone numbers onto Path’s servers. Others found that iPhone apps like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Foodspotting similarly uploaded user data — without permission, in some cases.
“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” an Apple spokesman told Reuters. “We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
The legislators had asked Apple to respond to a request for more information by February 29.
Popularity: 26% [?]
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
People love the idea of prepaid debit card, but hate the fees commonly associated with them and miss the perks their credit cards offer, such as fraud protection. Leading financial expert Suze Orman has a solution to this problem–the Suze Orman Approved Card. And to sweeten the deal, she’s thrown in free identity theft protection for cardholders.
To help consumers stay safe and debt-free in 2012, Orman launched her Approved Card—a prepaid card that gives you the benefits of paying with a credit card but is just as smart as paying with cash. One of the biggest benefits of using the Approved Card is that you can’t go into debt because you can only spend whatever funds you’ve already loaded on to the card. It’s a safe, easy, and sensible alternative to using credit cards or cash.
Orman says she created the card because she heard so many stories from people who were being taken advantage of by the tricks and traps of the banking industry. She wanted to give them a low-cost solution to their credit card woes. The card costs just $3 plus a $3 monthly fee, and come with a variety of perks that are designed to help you manage your money and stay safe, such as unlimited access to your credit report and credit scores from TransUnion (one of the three big credit reporting agencies), credit monitoring, and—you guessed it-—identity theft protection from TrustedID.
The TrustedID perk shows Orman’s commitment to ensuring consumers are protected against identity theft, one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and one of the most common ways people’s credit gets destroyed. Once activated, TrustedID monitors your credit and sends you alerts when changes are made or new accounts are opened.
In a Consumer Affairs review, Card Hub founder and CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou praised Orman for offering identity theft protection as part of the package, stating that the service is “undoubtedly beneficial for consumers.”
“Consumers often worry about identity theft, and the TrustedID service not only helps safeguard one’s money, but it also offers some peace of mind,” Papadimitriou said. By offering services like this and a truly smart way for consumers to pay for purchases and pay bills online, we expect to see the Approved Card everywhere.
Popularity: 49% [?]
Friday, February 10th, 2012
This Valentine’s Day, be extra careful of holiday-themed phishing scams. One common example is the survey scam, in which scammers ask you to take a “How Lucky in Love are You?” survey or participate in a “Find Your Mate” game. While some surveys are legitimate, some are scams that aim to collect your personal (and even financial) data for a pre-texting scam, in which crinimals piece together pieces of your identity to commit fraud.
Don’t be a victim this Valentine’s Day. Follow these simple rules to stay safe:
1. Never give out any personal data unless you’ve verified that the requestor is legitimate.
2. Use common sense. Never give out any info that could be sold or used by pretexters.
3. Never open an attachment or link unless you know it’s safe.
Follow these tips and enjoy a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Popularity: 10% [?]
Monday, February 6th, 2012
Safer Internet Day is organized by Insafe each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people.
This year, Safer Internet Day (SID) will take place on Tuesday 7 February 2012 and will be based on the theme “Connecting generations and educating each other.”
In honor of this important day, take a few minutes tomorrow to think about your children’s safety and how you can protect them. Here are a few tips that will help:
1. Never reveal your child’s Social Security number unless you have to. Just because someone asks for it at school or even at the dentist’s office doesn’t mean you have to give it to them. Ask if they’ll accept some other type of identification.
2. Check your child’s credit report every year. The three major credit-reporting agencies—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—will give you one free copy per year. A child typically doesn’t have a report on file so any activity could indicate identity theft.
3. Teach your child to never reveal their personal information on Facebook or any other public sites.
4. Enroll your child in an identity protection service, which will place fraud alerts on his or her credit reports and do several other things to fight identity theft. ID Essentials offers a family protection service that can protect the whole family.
The bottom line is—be proactive when it comes to protecting your child’s identity. With the right protection, you can live in “the digital world together… safely!”
Popularity: 5% [?]
Sunday, February 5th, 2012
VeriSign Inc, the company responsible for delivering people safely to more than half the world’s websites, was hacked repeatedly in 2010 by hackers who stole undisclosed information from the company. This breach is a reminder that no company or individual is too secure or too big to be attacked. In fact, targeted attacks on “high value” companies is more popular than ever.
VeriSign’s domain-name system processes about 50 billion queries daily. Hackers could use the stolen information to direct users to fraudulent sites and possibly even intercept email from federal employees or corporate executives, although classified government data moves through more secure channels.
VeriSign said its executives “do not believe these attacks breached the servers that support our Domain Name System network,” which ensures people land at the right numeric Internet Protocol address when they type in a name such as Google.com, but did not know for sure.
The VeriSign attacks were revealed in a quarterly U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing in October, which was following stricter guidelines that force companies to report security breaches to their shareholders.
VeriSign is just the latest in a list of high-value targets that have experienced data breaches, including RSA, Comodo, and DigiNotar.
When you consider that these companies are breached despite the major efforts they take to protect themselves shows that no company is every too safe or secure.
Popularity: 6% [?]
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
For many years, we’ve been providing the best credit and identity protection services on the market. As we keep a watchful eye on the identity risks faced by the average consumer, we can’t help but notice the problems consumers are experiencing with social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The good news is that we refuse to stand by idly. To help protect your online identity, we’ve acquired Reppler.com, the creator of one of the industry’s most advanced reputation management and protection services.
What does this mean to you? For starters, you can continue to use social media sites for all the fun,social and professional things you love to do. We’re just going to help you do it more safely by monitoring the risks these sites bring to your personal identity and reputation. When you consider that 90% of job recruiters use online data to evaluate candidates and that people around the world (including identity thieves) can learn a lot about you just from social media sites, the importance of online information and images for all consumers is critical.
So, what exactly does Reppler do for me?
• It gives you control by continuously monitoring your online profiles, allowing you to manage your reputation within social media services including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
• It automatically flags content that might be considered inappropriate and analyzes online profiles to give you a better understanding of how others might perceive you (Yes, we’re talking about that infamous Las Vegas photo).
• It alerts you to publicly-available personal information that should be made private and notifies you of malicious links you have in your profiles.
We at TrustedID are thrilled to announce the addition of Reppler to our broad range of protection services. Your identity and reputation are important to us, and we look forward to ensuring that they’re fully protected. The WSJ blog provides more information on this acquisition.
Popularity: 2% [?]