Another Rideshare Rape is an Epidemic

Women should never take a ride from a stranger because it’s dangerous – unless she’s paying the driver???

Wrong, of course. Uber and Lyft drivers provide paid rides to strangers as requested via the Uber and Lyft apps.

As of August 2018 WhosDrivingyou.org tallied the number at almost 400 rapes and probably stopped recording the sexual assaults because it has become so common. A quick Google search for “rideshare rape” pulls almost 7K results.

YeT another rideshare rape allegedly happened this week when an intoxicated woman was overcome by her driver. And before you blame the victim, JUST SHUT UP.

Almost the Perfect Crime

  • The predator has no problem getting a woman into his vehicle.
  • There’s an easy explanation for her DNA in the vehicle: the ride service.
  • She might be intoxicated, which is a common reason for hiring a rideshare service, and intoxication means vulnerability and lack of credibility.

Has the rideshare industry created a monster?

What makes rape even easier to get away with is if the passenger passes out from intoxication.

But by no means does this mean a predator should feel confident he could get away with his crime, such as Uber driver John David Sanchez, who got 80 years for ride-related sex crimes.

A CNN investigation revealed that at least 31 Uber drivers have been convicted of crimes such as rape as well as forcible touching.

On the other hand, CNN reported the case of an Uber driver who was accused by his fare of sexual assault. He claimed it was consensual; the charges were dropped.

CNN also reported that many of the women who were sexually assaulted by the over 100 accused drivers had been drinking or were drunk at the time of the alleged crimes.

A similar investigation of Lyft by CNN also revealed numerous sexual assault accusations.

What can a woman do?

  • Use Uber, Lyft (or a taxi service) only as a last resort, i.e., you can’t find someone you know to transport you.
  • Make sure you’re not impaired by any substances. This is a two-edged sword because an impaired person should not drive, either. If you’re convinced ahead of time you’ll be impaired, then arrange for a trusted friend to drive you home. If you can’t find someone, then reconsider your plan on getting wasted; is it worth it?
  • Arrange to use rideshare services with a companion.
  • Hire only female drivers.
  • Under no circumstances let a driver into your home.
  • Make sure your phone has a one-touch emergency alert button that will activate first responders who can home in on your location.

Don’t assume that just because someone works for Uber or Lyft that they’re safe. Though these companies do background checks, you have to consider that some predators have a clean record because they haven’t been caught (yet).

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

6 More Places to Put Your Identity on Lock Down

If you have been thinking about a credit freeze, you probably should know that the process is designed so that a creditor cannot see your credit report unless you specifically allow it. This process blocks any potential creditors from viewing or pulling your file, which makes it much more difficult for an identity thief to apply for new credit using your name or information. For links to freeze your credit at the 3 major bureaus go to How to Freeze My Credit.  However, there have been reports of people complaining of having accounts opened in their name while having credit freezes. So, if you already have a credit freeze at Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax, you also might want to consider freezing at the following companies, too:

Innovis Credit Freeze

Innovis is the 4th credit bureau you need to freeze with. The process is similar to the big three and its free. Go here to freeze your Innovis Credit Freeze.

National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange or NCTUE

One place you should contact to freeze your credit through is the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange, or NCTUE. Many mobile phone companies, for instance, get credit inquiries done through this organization, so hackers can still open mobile phone accounts in your name, even if your credit is locked down elsewhere via the 3 major bureaus.

In general, only mobile phone companies use NCTUE, but there are other companies, like water, power, and cable companies that also use it. You can contact NCTUE to freeze your credit by calling them and giving them your Social Security number. You will also have to verify a few other details, but the system is automated, so it’s very easy. If the system can verify your identity, your credit report through this organization will be frozen. You can also get your NCTUE credit report and risk score by calling their 800-number 1-866-349-5355 or try to do it online here NCTUE Freeze but some say this links form doesn’t work well.

ChexSystems

You should also place a security alert with ChexSystems. This is a system that is used by banks to verify the worthiness of customers who are requesting new savings and checking accounts. When you request a freeze through this organization, it is only applied to your ChexSystems consumer report. If you want to freeze your credit at other companies, you must do it directly through them. For ChexSystems, you can do it here: ChexSystems Security Freeze.

Opt-Out Prescreen

You can additionally opt out of any pre-approved credit offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or you can go online and visit the website Optoutprescreen.com.

myE-Verify Self-Lock via the Department of Homeland Security

The fourth organization you should freeze your credit with is called Self Lockvia the Department of Homeland Security. This freeze helps to protect you from any employment-related fraud. When you lock your Social Security number through this tool, it will stop anyone from using your Social Security number to get a job, which is another scam. If a Social Security number that has been locked is entered into the system, it will result in a mismatch, which will flag the number as fake. It’s easy to lock and unlock your identity through Self Lock, and each time you do it, it remains locked for a year. Once that year is over, you can choose to renew the lock, too. You can learn more online at the Self-Lock Freeze.

Social Security Administration

Finally, if you want to prevent any type of Social Security fraud, you should set up an account at the Social Security Administration. There are a number of Social Security scams designed to siphon your benefits or sensitive information. Your telephone may ring followed by and automated message saying your Social Security number has been “suspended” because of some suspicious activity or be threatened with arrest if you don’t call the telephone number provided in the automated message. Simply by setting up the account you can prevent someone else from setting it up as you and posting as you. Also you can check in with then SSA should you received any calls, emails or mail to determine the communications legitimacy. You can do it online,Social Security Administration Set-up.

Here’s your Freeze to-do checklist.

  1. NCTUE Freeze
  2. ChexSystems Security Freeze.
  3. com.
  4. Self-Lock Freeze.
  5. Social Security Administration Set-up
  6. How to Freeze My Credit.
  7. Innovis Credit Freeze.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Teen Tragic Love: Lesson for Parents?

This story is kinda dark. Recently the ID Channel ran an episode called “Forbidden: Dying for Love — Together Forever, Forever Together.”

The 19-year-old was Tony Holt. Let’s call his 15-year-old girlfriend Kristen.

Kristen, 14, Falls Hard for Tony, 18

She met him when he was working at a grocery store. But he also happened to be a senior at her new high school. Prior to meeting him, Kristen knew her mother wouldn’t allow dating till she was 16.

Kristen’s mother eventually learned of the secret relationship and forbad it. The girl and Tony kept seeing each other on the sly. Mama learned of this and again, forbad it. Kristen then pretended the relationship was over and even talked of how she now hated Tony. Her mother was thrilled.

Meanwhile the teens kept sneaking around.

Forbidden love can be funner! Anyway, Mama found out again, stormed into the grocery store and angrily announced to Tony that if he ever went near her daughter again, she’d have him arrested for statutory rape. Which, is in fact statutory rape in many states.

The threat had him really scared about going to prison. He appeared at Mama’s house soon after and apologized for upsetting her and said that he and Kristen were going to cool it and just be friends.

But they continued seeing each other, and Mama discovered photos in Kristen’s bedroom of the two making out. More furious than ever, she forbad any contact. (Kristen’s father was out of the picture.)

Not long after, she got a call at work to come to the house. The police were there. Tony and Kristen were both dead from a gunshot wound to their heads.

A suicide note left by Kristen explained that the only way they could be together was to die and go to heaven where they could live happily ever after. Kristen had also left a suicide message on the answering machine, apologizing for the suicide pact. I’ll bet you didn’t see that one coming. Neither did I.

Questions to Wonder About

  • Why didn’t the teens decide to just avoid sex for three years, after which they could then marry and have up to 70 years of glory together? Abstinence is hardly an extreme move when you pit it against a murder-suicide.
  • What if Kristen’s mother permitted the relationship and even had Tony over every week for dinner? But what if, at the same time, she expressed her disapproval over their sexual relations?
  • What if she had said, “If you get pregnant, you’ll be grounded – by your baby. I won’t report statutory rape, but I also won’t help you out with the baby, either.”

That last warning may sound harsh, but it’s a crapshoot type of warning: It just might work.

Lessons Learned

  • You can’t stop two love-struck teens from seeing each other, so you may as well be civil to the unapproved young man.
  • While it’s important to stand your ground as a parent, there also comes a time when a sweet spot needs to be figured out. After all, not only might there be a suicide pact, but there are quite a few documentaries in which the forbidden young man murdered his girlfriend’s disapproving parents.
  • It’s never too early to teach your children the virtues of delayed gratification.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Should Life Insurance Policies Be Banned?

It’s fair to wonder how many people would still be alive today if there were never any such thing as a life insurance policy. Personally I can’t imagine NOT having a life insurance policy if you have children 17 and under. But the below info might ring true for some of you.

An insurance policy may be the only thing it takes to kick a murder plan into high gear. A woman who isn’t generally capable of murder just because she saw him with another woman might be to get her hands on that $300,000 payout.

Which brings us back to the initial question: How many people would still be with us had they not named their killer as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy?

Who in their right mind keeps an angry, disgruntled family member as the beneficiary anyways?

You’d be stunned to know the answer: Enough to supply the Investigation Discovery channel with one crime documentary after another in which a person was murdered for their life insurance policy.

  • In many cases the killer is a woman – either directly, or she “hires” someone to do the job.
  • Of course, many times the victim is a woman.
  • A third scenario is when a non-family member has been scammed by the killer to name the killer as the sole beneficiary.
  • A fourth scenario is when the killer takes out the policy of the victim without the victim knowing!

This article is about the first two types.

What’s absolutely mind-blowing is why the policyholder keeps these beneficiaries on the payout plan, when any one of the following has occurred:

  • The beneficiary and the policyholder have separated or divorced – and have a very ugly relationship in which the beneficiary has displayed fits of rage.
  • The policyholder is afraid of the beneficiary, though there’s been no violence directed towards him or her.
  • The policyholder has been assaulted by the beneficiary.
  • There are no children (which then begs the question more than ever of why the policyholder would want that ex-spouse or soon-to-be ex-spouse still as a beneficiary).

In short, why on earth would you want someone – whom you’re either afraid of or now hate to the bone – to be your beneficiary?

Even if you have young children with the beneficiary…it still makes zero sense if you believe there’s even a remote chance that your ex is capable of killing you for that money.

Your raging ex or deeply troubled son do NOT need $800,000 if you die in a car accident or from disease. So why do you have the policy and why are they on it?

Bottom Line

  • Nobody whom you fear or who now hates you should be your beneficiary.
  • Remove them at once and inform them promptly.
  • It could save your life.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Apps for Stalkers Disguised as Parental Control Tools

Sell something called “SuperParent” or even the actual FlexiSpy — and all is swell. Frankly, I’m not opposed to monitoring a child’s phone, kids shouldn’t have phones anyways.

But sell something called “iStalk” or “StalkU,” well … this won’t quite go over well with the authorities or the general community.

It’s all in a name (pardon the cliché).

Apps that track users contain Spyware. A wannabe stalker can secretly install such an app on their intended victim’s phone via any of the following:

  • Manual access to the phone
  • Link to a Twitter share
  • Share for LinkedIn or Whatsapp
  • Text a link posing as security update

Sending a “malicious” link works when its clicked. However the stalker will usually need to have access to the victim’s phone to install the tracking software. With the way people leave their phones lying around, this is fairly easy to do – to users who don’t have a password set up for their device or share their password with their “stalker”.

What can some “stalking apps” track?

  • Call logs
  • Contents of text and chat messages
  • Location of phone (and hence, victim if the phone is with them)
  • Listening in to ambient sounds picked up by the phones microphone
  • Listening in to phone calls
  • Access to voicemail

According to a 2014 study by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 54% of domestic abusers use tracking software, for which its icon can be visibly concealed from the victim.

Though availability of tracking apps has become more limited over time, due to the revelations of how these have been abused, they are still available, such as mSpy, which can be easily downloaded to Android devices.

Downloading stalkware to iPhones is more challenging, but far from impossible. In fact, one technique doesn’t even require physical access to the target’s phone. And even then…this can be breached by a techy stalker.

How do app makers cover their butts?

They include language with their apps, such as citing that consent of the target is required before installation, or that the app company will cooperate with law enforcement should a complaint be reported.

Stalkware isn’t going away anytime soon. Thus, the emphasis needs to be on prevention.

How to Prevent Remote Stalking

  • Heavens, please don’t let your new boyfriend/girlfriend talk you out of having a password with some kind of nonsense like, “If you trusted me you wouldn’t need a password.”
  • Never share passwords.
  • Tell him or her – on the first date – that  your phone is off-limits to them. If they give you flack, it’s over. Only a control freak would mind this.
  • If they keep cool, this could be an act to gain your trust. Never leave your phone alone with that special someone.
  • Keep your phone turned off unless you’re using it.
  • Disable the GPS feature.
  • Never leave your phone unsupervised in the presence of other people, even your new boyfriend’s great-grandmother.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.