Online Scam Targets Pet Lovers

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

I love my dog, 60lb German Shepherd. Small for a GS, she was the runt. I’ve always rooted for the underdog. The underdog has more heart, more passion and they try harder. My GS is a perfect example.  She’s my second in 20 years. After the first one passed, another was in my house 4 months later. With a wife who was 4 months pregnant. That was a fought contest between man and wife that was won when the runt fell on the feet of the wife at the kennel. I had nothing to do with it!

My dog watches the house when I’m gone. She is me, but furrier. She hears and sees things like I do. Shes territorial and knows when something is OK, and when it isn’t. We both bark too. Some say I’m half Italian, half German Shepherd! I have to be careful about disciplining someone who might trespass into my yard in front of the dog. When I use a confrontational or stern voice to a stranger, the dog goes nuts, as she should.

It doesn’t matter how big or small a dog is. Most, but not all dogs have a territorial instinct. This is a good back up alarm, a good deterrent. And its not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog that matters most.

This story caught my eye” A warning for internet users: an online scam targeting pet-lovers is circulating the web, and it could cost you more than a new pet.

An ad posted to a local online classified website by a man who claimed he was living in Florida. The seller said he had recently moved to Miami, and couldn’t keep his dog due to his new living conditions. He was willing to give the Labrador Retriever puppy named Dely away for the cost of shipping, which was $220.

The couple sent a delivery service $220 by way of Western Union. The delivery service told the family to send another $820 or risk losing the dog. That’s when the couple realized they’d been scammed. They told the person on the other end of the phone the deal was off. But the caller kept calling, becoming more aggressive each time.

“He kept calling me saying the dogs here,” said the victim. “Making me feel like this poor dog is sitting somewhere unattended.” When the caller realized the couple wasn’t sending the extra $820 he threatened to turn them into authorities and charge them with animal abandonment. “We didn’t know if something was really going to happen to us. We didn’t know if we could get in trouble.” They said. That’s when they decided to call police. Authorities were at their home in less than an hour. They looked at the emails, the website, and tried to trace the phone calls. Officials determined the entire thing was a scam.

Scammers will say and do anything to get a person to part with their money. At first they had a sob story that sounded like a legitimate issue, new housing, cant have a pet. When posted in a classified ad, it looks legitimate. Then they involved a “shipping company” that was a front for the scam. Once the victims were asked to send money via Western Union, that should have been a red-flag.

Its best to always do business like this locally. Never automatically trust over the phone or via the internet. Unless the business is one that is well established online, don’t ever send money that you cant get back. Money orders and wiring money have less security than a credit card does. Anytime the transaction involves wiring money, that’s a dead giveaway. In any virtual transaction, I’d suggest using a credit card, but not without first checking the legitimacy of the business or the individual. A quick scan online of a company, individual, or even the nature of a transaction can often provide enough information to make an informed decision.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing advanced fee scams on the Mike and Juliet Show. Disclosures

Home Safety: Operation Storm Targets Burglars

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

I travel a LOT. I spend lots of time on planes and in new and different communities. Traveling is often a bear, but the rewards of consuming different cultures and ways of living is well worth it. I often try to learn from others “way” to determine how it might work in my life.

Here is an interesting story about how law enforcement in the UK is dealing with criminals. They have a very different take on the issue than we do. But there is definitely something to learn here.

Police in the UK have launched a new blitz on burglars to bring down crime, increase the number of burglars convicted and provide a high profile presence on the streets. They arrested more than 600 burglars, robbers and thieves in four days this week in its first major clampdown of the New Year.

As part of Operation Storm, police will continue to target known and suspected burglars through home visits, stop checks, high profile policing and use of the automated number plate recognition system (ANPR) to reassure residents and deter offenders. High impact enforcement activity on all divisions across the Force has seen officers making almost 100 raids on properties of suspected criminals.

Action such as this shows offenders that they will be made to payback for the misery they cause to innocent people. There is no hiding place for them and we will make sure that they are caught.”

Why don’t we adopt this strategy here in the USA?? That’s such a great home safety strategy that puts known criminals on alert that they are being watched.

I see that as very proactive police work.  Most people understand that law enforcement can’t protect you around the clock. While they certainly patrol and have many proactive duties, we are pretty much on our own when it comes to protecting ourselves and families.

Taking responsibility for your personal security and home safety begins with understanding that a law enforcement officer generally isn’t there when you need one. Its just not cost effective to have one cop per household.

To protect yourself:

Always lock doors and windows when you are home and away. When I travel to different parts for the country speaking on security issues and ask “How many of you lock your doors?” I’m always amazed at how many people do not lock their doors. My doors are locked all day while I’m home.

Do not display high end expensive items in windows easily viewed from the street. If you have a big plasma TV facing the street and your shades are open at night, you are inadvertently sending a signal to a burglar.

No matter what time of the year, holidays or not, cut and put boxes for high ticket items and put them in black opaque trash bags when disposing.

Install a home security system complete with monitored alarm and surveillance cameras. Have the cameras monitor motion connected to a DVR. Set the alarm while you are home during the day, sleeping and when you are gone.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures

Burglaries Up; Many While People Are Home

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

In Wichita, Kansas they are facing a huge up tick in burglaries. Generally, crimes of this nature rise when there is a financial crisis, unemployment, gangs and drug activity. Police there have recorded 2,839 burglaries last year, a 10.2 percent increase over the same period the year before.

Of the 2,839 burglaries, 384 — or 13.5 percent — occurred while residents were home. Many of these burglaries occurred as people slept in their homes. Home security conscious people cant even imagine that is possible, but I know it is. Too many people don’t think it can happen to them and don’t lock their doors or even have a home alarm system.

The article states The burglars had to have known that someone was home — there were cars in garages and driveways, and purses visible in the homes. The criminals came in anyway — a brazen, potentially dangerous risk that burglars rarely take, experts say.

The local police passed out a flier alerting residents that burglars hit two homes between midnight and 5 a.m. last Friday while families slept. You might ask if these people live in “Pleasantville” and have no idea that these things happen. But the “it cant happen to me” syndrome is a real issue.

“They didn’t even know until they got up,” said their Police Chief. Can you imagine that?!!.

The report states that burglars simply entered through unlocked doors. In one of the burglaries, a couple with small children woke up after being alerted by their growling dog. Dogs are great. But a home alarm in place would have alerted them first.

Many alarms are installed after the home is broken into. Once a home is burgled, people lose their sense of security and try to gain it back with the installation of an alarm. A home alarm certainly provides security, but people who are victimized in this way often face years of emotional after shocks.

The key to security is thinking proactively and doing things to secure your self and family before something bad happens. Don’t think “it can’t happen to me”, think “yes, there is a chance this can happen and I’m going to set an example and do something about it.”

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures

Police Warn of Potential “Alarm” Scam

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Call them con men, grifters, scammers, or thieves. Or simply call them liars. Lying is what they do best. They stare you in the eyes, do it via email or over the phone and lie through their teeth. They do it casually and with such conviction that we have no reason not to believe them.

A Police Department investigated a suspicious activity report after a resident contacted police about an “alarm company” calling and offering a free home security system for people in their neighborhood.

Someone representing “Maximum Security” said the company was giving away five home security systems.

The “representative” would ask if the resident had a security system in the home, at which point the resident said he was not comfortable discussing the home’s security system. Which or course is the appropriate response. In this case, after the resident made it a difficult sales call and the sales person hung up on him. This prompted a call to the police.

When the police investigated the caller ID number, they were met with busy signals and incomplete calls.

Ive been addressed in a similar way over the phone, at my front door and via email.

Whatever you tell them can be used against you. They can steal your identity. If they find out you don’t have an alarm they may break into your house. If you tell them who your home alarm is with they may call you at a later date posing as that alarm company and requesting “updated credit card numbers”.

This “request” is best resolved by not answering any questions at all, hanging up, deleting the email or telling the person at the front door (while you speak to them through the locked door) you are not interested. No matter what, never give them social security or credit card numbers, or tell them whether or not you have an alarm.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing cons and schemes on the Donny Deutsch Show. Disclosures

Crimeware: Do It Yourself Criminal Hacking

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

For $400-$700 you too can be a criminal hacker. Phishing hacking and spoofing software has been around for a few years. Heres what may be an example.

The ease and availability of this good for nothing other than crime software has made it easier, cheaper and more user friendly than ever to get into the cybercrime business.

Anyone with moderate computer skills that can navigate around the web and upload or download files is pretty much capable of accessing and implementing the crimeware.

Todays crimeware kits are designed so a person who is new to the criminal hacking business can quickly get up to speed and snare victims rapid fire.

USA Today reports they’ve been blasting out fake e-mail messages crafted to look like official notices from UPS (UPS), FedEx (FDX) or the IRS; or account updates from Vonage, Facebook or Microsoft Outlook (MSFT); or medical alerts about the H1N1 flu virus.

The faked messages invariably ask the recipient to click on a Web link; doing so infects the PC with a banking Trojan, a malicious program designed to steal financial account logons. Often, the PC also gets turned into a “bot”: The attacker silently takes control and uses it to send out more phishing e-mail.

The crimeware software business models the manufacturing and distribution of the legitimate software industry. Criminals are also getting more sophisticated in marketing their wares and doing it openly online. Just because they sell crimeware, doesn’t mean the software is illegal. It only becomes illegal when it’s used to scam people.

The fundamentals of how to prevent phishing are presented here by the Anti Phishing Work Group

  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information
    • unless the email is digitally signed, you can’t be sure it wasn’t forged or ’spoofed’
    • phishers typically include upsetting or exciting (but false) statements in their emails to get people to react immediately
    • they typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, etc.
    • phisher emails are typically NOT personalized, but they can be. Valid messages from your bank or e-commerce company generally are personalized, but always call to check if you are unsure
  • Don’t use the links in an email, instant message, or chat to get to any web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic or you don’t know the sender or user’s handle
    • instead, call the company on the telephone, or log onto the website directly by typing in the Web adress in your browser
  • Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information
    • you should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or the telephone


  1. Get a credit freeze. Click on the preceding link and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
  2. Go to my website and get my FREE ebook on how to protect yourself from the bad guy.
  3. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing identity theft on Fox News

Meet Raoul Chiesa: UN Interregional Crime & Justice Research Inst.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

In my quest to learn more about what makes a criminal hacker tick, I came across Mr Chiesa when he commented on a blog post I wrote “How I Wasted 4 Hours with a Criminal Hacker”. He warned me I was treading on dangerous ground due to the fact that when communicating with the blackhat, I used my real name and provided my web address. His concern was a revenge hack that would clear the hackers name amongst his hacker peers.

I’ve danced with the devil a few times in my life and don’t mind the occasional walk on the ledge. And I’ll heed his advice in the future. After a closer look, I learned he is from the United Nations, based in Italy. (Road trip anyone?). That’s a cat I want to talk to who is fighting the battle 24/7/365 against the bad guy.

What do you do?

Since 2005 I’ve worked with the United Nations Interregional Crime & Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), where I am a Senior Advisor on Cybercrime Issues & Strategic Alliances. We develop new strategies, techniques and methodologies in order to support the Member States fighting cybercrime-related issues, supporting policy-makers, end-users and States.

I’m also an entrepreneur in the Information Security arena. I run 2 vendor-neutral consulting firms, specialized in Penetration Testing, Audit & Compliances, while the second firm supplies Digital Forensics services. I’m into IS since 1997, while I began my interest in it – and the hacking’s underground – back in 1986.

Why do you do it?

Mainly it’s because of the passion. I love my job, I love what I do everyday…and this is not so common so…I’m feeling really lucky. Talking about my role at UNICRI, I decided to join them in order to support a neutral organization that is really trying to achieve important goals.

What’s your process?

Mainly building an international network of contacts; attending a huge amount of IT events all around the world, often as a speaker; trying to build an “informal communication and alert network” among LEAs, in order to simplify and speed-up the process of information exchange. We’re working on various R&D projects, that help and benefit the IT and ICT community all around the world. Our main research is HPP – Hackers Profiling Project (, where we’ve been able to interview more than 1200 hackers from five different continents. It’s a really huge research program, that will last five years more. It’s something never done before.

What are the “politics” with it world wide?

Politics – especially USA and EU – are driving towards issues related to privacy, Lawful Interception, copyright, etc. I’m a technical guy, with a technical background: I don’t like politics, though it’s clear to me that it’s something we need, somehow.

In my humble opinion, the common mistake when politics meet IT, is that politicians are obviously not IT people, they do not have an IT background, and often they misunderstand the logistics of IT…in this scenario, (big or small) mistakes may always happen.

What is next? What’s the future look like?

We are observing in incredible rise in cybercrime. New profiles of attackers arrived in the so-called “hacking underground”, and the hacking world – sometimes – is meeting with organized crime and State-sponsored attacks. The world is changing and, basically, the keyword is “the information”. In today’s world, “Information is the Power”, that’s the sole reason why all of this is happening.

Sum up a profile of the criminal hacker today vs. 10 years ago.

There are huge differences between hackers in the past and hackers nowadays. Hackers from the past were not “mandatory” criminals. While their actions were illegal (note: during the 80’s and the 90’s, “hacking” was not a crime in many countries of the world. I.e. in Italy it became a crime only in 1993/1994), the global approach was much more on the “challenge”, the “curiosity”, as well as “teens actions”.

21st century hacking has moved towards criminality. This leads us to Cybercrime, that is de-facto composed by many different “subsections”, where hacking is often related. I am talking about spam, carding, zero-day attacks (and all the black-market there connected), obviously Identity Theft, scams & economical fraud, that leads us to the so-called “Underground Economy”.

The on-going economical global crisis too has something to do with this: each time there’s a global crisis, criminality raises up. This is exactly what’s happening now, since 2009, and that will continue in 2010: people that basically are NOT criminals, may be forced/pushed to “accept” a crime deal, linked to cybercrime actions.

This happens because cybercrime does not involve “straight” criminal actions such as killing somebody with a knife or a gun, stealing a mobile phone from somebody’s hands, etc… It’s a not-physical crime, involving actors to think that they are not doing anything “bad”. Also, cybercriminals ALWAYS think that they will “never be busted”, since they rate themselves “much better, more skilled” than LE agents.

Last issue (of a really huge, huge picture!) is related to State Sponsored attacks. Recent attacks from China, Estonia and Georgia are showing us how much hacking techniques are involved in all of this. Governments are starting to hire hackers (USA, UK, China, Korea, Iran….) and set up Information Warfare: this will be one of the hottest keywords in the near future.

More info on our book on Hackers Profiling:

Raoul Chiesa, OPSA, OPST, ISECOM International Trainer, CLUSIT, ISECOM, TSTF, OWASP Italian Chapter: Board of Directors Member Osservatorio Privacy & Sicurezza – OPSI-AIP, Comitato Esecutivo

Thank you Raoul. We appreciate your contributions.

  1. Get a credit freeze. Click on the preceding link and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
  2. Go to my website and get my FREE ebook on how to protect yourself from the bad guy.
  3. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing identity theft on Fox News

Convicted Burglar; Police Offer Tips for Keeping Home Secure

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

When it comes to breaking into homes, the best experts are the ones who know everything about the process, the burglars themselves.

The burglar in this story, is on probation for a September 2008 burglary conviction, but admits he burglarized 30 or 40 homes to feed a drug addiction.” When I was breaking into houses, the feeling was like you get when you open your presents on Christmas morning and see what you got.”

Imagine if that was your outlook? Think for a moment how warped and anti-social a person must be to process the world in that order.

This burglar prided himself in getting intelligence as to whether or not the homeowner was going to be there or not. He specifically made an effort to seek information prior to determine when they would be gone and when they would come back. Often that type of information is known amongst people close to the thief, often in a trusted position. He says that if you have someone in your life who is an active addict, then they should not be trusted with this type of information.  This is sage advice that should be heeded.

He also suggested stopping mail and newspaper deliveries when you travel, as these are signals to a thief that the house is temporarily vacant. I’ve never been a fan of this tactic due to the fact that your name and address are now on a “stop delivery” list signaling to anyone on the inside of the post office or newspaper delivery service that your house is vacant. I think it’s better to have a trusted friend remove the mail and newspapers daily.

This home burglar also stated he would mostly break into houses where the doors were left unlocked. This is an obvious issue that many people don’t consider due to the fact they are either lazy about their security or they say “I don’t want to live like that.” And I say, “live like what, secure?” It’s always bothered me that some people associated effective home security behavior with “paranoia” which is actually a mental illness and the complete opposite of secure.

Effective home security includes:

  • Timed and/or motion activated lights, inside and out. This burglar stated lights turned on made him nervous and he would go to a home that didn’t pose a threat of getting caught.
  • Trim bushes and shrubs. Anything covering doors and windows that give a burglar cover is an invitation to a thief. I also recommend defensive shrubbery with lots of thorns.
  • Encourage your neighbors to report any suspicious activity around your home while you are gone or even while you are home.
  • Install a home security system. It’s not enough to just lock your doors. A home alarm is an effective deterrent while you are away and while you are home. Even home alarm decals and signage is a layer of protection.
  • Dogs big and small. A dog need not be an attack dog to be an effective deterrent. Barking dogs bring attention to the home they are protecting.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclaimer

10 Business Identity Theft Risks in 2010

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Advancements in technology over the past decade have created a tremendous amount of opportunity for the savvy businessperson. Whether it’s mobility, streamlined processes, marketing, or the ability to sell to a global market, there’s never been a better time to be in business.

Like anything good, there is always a negative. While there are certainly many negatives in technology, like the headaches when something doesn’t work correctly and the constant learning curve we must all endure, the biggest negative is security issues.

So for the SMB (that’s you, the savvy businessperson), here are ten considerations for the new decade:

Back up your back up. Numerous reports of cyber-war, thousands of new viruses weekly, and even Mother Nature reeking havoc on the Internet, have caused concern among industry professionals. Doing business in the cloud is fantastic; however, make sure you have redundant local backups of your data.

Anti-virus will not fully protect you. The sheer volume of attacks and new viruses created will keep the anti-virus vendors busy. But there is no way they can keep up the pace 100% of the time. There are numerous technologies that will immunize your PC and make whatever virus or spyware impotent, and any data on your machine typed in a browser useless to the thief.

Social media identity theft is the act of creating a blog or social media site that models your day to day operations. At any time someone can register domains or social media sites with your brand as the face. They then sell product that they never ship and/or do things to damage your brand. Scoop up your social media identities with

Social network nitwits. One of the easiest ways into your companies’ networks is via social media. The explosion of “I just made a tuna” communications has brought out the dumb in many people. The simple act of setting up a group on Facebook and getting your employees to join can open up a treasure trove of data that can facilitate social engineering attacks. Create policies and procedures that involve appropriate use.

Social engineering, the ruse of a confidence man, is back in full force. It never really went away, but with the amount of security in place, sometimes the path of least resistance is simply asking your cleaning crew for the keys to the building. By gaining the trust of employees over the phone, via email or in person, a con-man can get almost anything he needs to get whatever he wants. The best defense is effective policies coupled with ongoing awareness training.

Insider identity theft can ruin your business. Most companies have done their due-diligence to keep the bad guy from hacking from the outside. But many organizations have neglected the risks associated with employees gone bad and the internal damage that can be done. Numerous technologies monitor and control access to sensitive information. But preventing bad employees from doing bad things starts with not hiring bad people.

Phishing scams still work. Despite consumer and employee awareness, a carefully crafted and well designed email that looks like its coming from another employee is probably the most effective spear phish. Going after the CEO or high level executive or “whaling” can often be even more successful. The bigger they are the harder they fall as they say. From my experience it’s often the smartest ones in the room that lack all common sense. Test your employees; see what they will fall for. Then test them again.

Tighten up employee remote access. Allowing Suzy Admin to access the companies VPN from a home PC that Suzy’s son Steve uses to play games on servers hosted in North Korea will end up bad. Malware on a home computer can compromise usernames and passwords resulting in spyware on the network. Set up Suzy with her own laptop that’s fully locked down and prevents Steve from doing anything fun.

Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing is a fantastic way to leak company and client data to the world. Obamas helicopter plans, security details and notes on congress members being deposed were all leaked on government controlled computers via P2P. Setting admin privileges and installing numerous technologies that will prevent P2P is essential.

Identity theft will get worse before it gets better. And whether it’s your identity, your families or your employee’s identity that is stolen, it can be a huge time suck and a costly event. The best defense involves a 3 legged stool. First, awareness training of all the scams that lure people in, and how to appropriately respond to numerous communications. Second involves a little time and investment in a “credit freeze” or “security freeze”. Learn how to do it HERE. Third is an annual investment in identity theft protection. In today’s cyber crime climate, and with the recession making people desperate to make money any way they can, NOT investing in identity theft protection is, in my opinion, irresponsible. The worst thing you can do is nothing.

Go to my website and get my FREE ebook on how to protect yourself from the bad guy.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing identity theft on Fox News

Forget Privacy, Think Security

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Everywhere you go there is a privacy advocate screaming to protect your privacy. Privacy advocates, bless them, are a dying breed. They fight for whatever privacy rights there are left and do their best to remain watchdogs. If your gig is privacy, my guess is you have lost all your hair and are popping Prozac to relieve the stress of todays anti-private society. And you are fully employed and very very busy.

My gripe, people are freaking about full body scanners at the airports and the privacy issues involved. This isn’t a privacy issue, it’s a security issue. If you have to show a black and white image of your bum bum to avoid the plane from being blown up, so be it. Otherwise don’t fly.

“Privacy is dead, deal with it,” Sun MicroSystems former CEO Scott McNealy was widely reported to have declared over a decade ago. Scott hit the nail on the head and shortly after Tila Tequila became a famous lesbian pinup on MySpace, the Real World of reality TV was born, and we’ve been tweeting tuna sandwiches ever since.

Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook who was around 13 years old when McNealy made his statement recently re-affirmed it by saying  “… in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that’s evolved over time.”

The fact is, “Privacy is an illusion, said Robert Siciliano CEO of, “the focus today should be security, not privacy” he continued. That right there is a ready made quote for you to copy/paste and make me a sage like my two counterparts :)~

Think of it like this: from birth you have a medical and birth record. These docs follow you everywhere in life and are filed and viewed by many. You can’t get admissions to schools, jobs or insurances without presenting these records. You are granted a Social Security number shortly after birth and that IS your National ID. Nine numbers that are connected to every financial, criminal and insurance record that makes up who you are and what you’ve done. But none of these docs are connected to you physically, which results in identity theft, a security issue.

Further, every time you visit a website with cookies enabled, use an ATM, credit card, RFID transponder on the highway toll, public transportation pass, make a call on a mobile phone, order a pizza over a home phone or simply use a computer to denote you ate that tuna, chances are – someone, somewhere – is recording that transaction and determining your location.

If you want to participate in society you have no choice but to give up your privacy. Fundamentally this is a trust issue. Humans lie and can’t be automatically trusted. We have considerable checks and balances in place to prevent lying from going unnoticed. Anonymity is dead due to the fact that bad guys try to hide or not pay. Transparency makes their chances of getting caught more likely. If you kill someone then drive down the highway, your chances of getting caught increase because your license plate is recorded through the toll. This is a good trade off for the family of the victim.

Knowing all this and understanding technologies impact on what you thought was privacy, should make you resigned to the fact that privacy is in-fact dead and an illusion. Now your focus needs to be security. Secure your financial identity so no-one can pose as you. Secure your online social media identity so no-one can pose as you. Secure your PC so no-one can take over your accounts.  And please, there is no sense in telling the world what you are doing and where you are every minute of the day. When you do this, you aren’t relinquishing privacy; you are compromising your personal security.

  1. Get a credit freeze. Click on the preceding link and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
  2. Go to my website and get my FREE ebook on how to protect yourself from the bad guy.
  3. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano identity theft speaker discussing cookies and privacy issues on FOX News

Neighbors Tip Leads to Arrest of Burglary Suspect

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Where I live there isn’t much that goes on outside of my home that I don’t know about. I live on a dead end, so I have less traffic both on foot and by car than most. It’s still a well traveled area and I pretty much see every car that drives by, every person that walks down the street and most of the activity that goes on at the neighbor’s house too. Now I’m no nosy neighbor, I could care less what the neighbors do, as long as what they do doesn’t negatively impact me.

But I’m certainly very interested in what a stranger may be doing in the area. Most of us have a routine. We do many of the same things every day and see the same people too, and those people see us. And when someone “outside of the trusted circle” comes around, I want to know why, and what their business is. So like any barking dog, I let them know my presence. I may ask them directly what their business is or strike up a conversation about the weather. While many may not want to be bothered with this effort, I find that this is a very effective way to secure your home.

Two things happen when you engage in this way. First, anyone you address in any manner now knows from that point on for the rest of their lives that “the guy in that house is watching me.” Or is at least aware of his property and who is near or on it. Second, people who you engage this way now become a second set of eyes to watch out for anything suspicious on your home. If they know that you live there, opposed to 6 guys in ski masks, then they may call the police if they see something suspicious.

This is why I love this story:

“Officers had responded to a burglar home alarm and found a broken window in the rear of a residence. A search of the area at the time turned up no suspects. Several neighbors, however, had notified police of a suspicious vehicle that had been seen in the area and were able to provide a good description and license plate number. Police were able to use the information to locate the thief in a nearby town. Police added that it appeared the home alarm had scared the burglar.”

This is a perfect example of layers of protection. The burglar home alarm scared the guy away and the neighbors helped get him arrested. Definitely, install a burglar alarm and make an effort to let people you come in contact with know that your home is one that is security conscious.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing home security on NBC Boston. Disclaimer