Twitter Is a Security Mess

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker Expert

Mischievous Hack attacks on Twitter are increasing and it seems there is no end in sight. While twitters developers are working to make it more secure, the open nature of the application fuels mischievous and even criminal hacking.

Twitter is microblogging. In 140 characters or less you tell your followers what you are doing or point them towards something that may enhance their lives. Most Tweeple are twits and say nothing of value. Their tweets are mundane and serve no benefit to anyone.

If you don’t use Twitter thats OK. But there is a chance you eventually will. Many thought they’d never use Facebook, but millions do. Micro blogging is a weird phenom that makes sense to many, and not at all to most.

Users can get tweets via email, on your phone or via SMS texts. People have sent tweets while giving birth, in the crowd watching the Obama inauguration, celebrating New Years, and just about anything you can think of.

I’m on Twitter. I spend my energies informing my readers about security. The most effective tweets have a pithy title related to an article, blog post or TV appearance. All security related.

Since Twitters inceptions hundreds of 3rd party applications have been built around Twitter. Apps that enhance, manage or are just for fun. Much of twitters technology is an open book which has allowed hackers both good and bad to build these apps, and of course wreak havoc.

One such hack is using a Twitter accounts mobile phone number to spoof messages to the users followers.

Other Twitter hacks have included full account take over where messages were sent to all followers of Obama, Britney Speakers, Fox and a CNN anchor.

Recent studys also show that Twittersquating, when brand names are hijacked is also a problem on Twitter

So if you decide to Twitter, know that its not very secure and be cautious about plugging your mobile number into the system.

Robert Siciliano Identity theft Speaker Expert discussing Scams Cons and Schemes Here

Identity Theft Tax Time Scams

Identity Theft Speaker Expert Robert Siciliano

We are approaching tax time. Scammers are ramped up and looking for your money. Learn these tips and watch your back. Protect and prevent Identity Theft.

1. Text messaging scams or Phexting Like phishing but texting); Criminal hackers have access to technology that generates cell phone numbers and access to mass text messaging services. They send texts that install keyloggers or direct you to websites that steal your data.

2. Tax Preparer Scams; Reports of tax preparers who tell their clients they have to pay back their 2008 stimulus checks, then pocket the money

3. Basic Phonescams; Using the telephone for scams is back. Scammers call your home posing as local fire dept collecting your personal information for their records in case their is an emergency

4. Caller ID Spoof; New technologies that allow anyone any time to mask what shows on your caller ID and pose as an official, lottery or authority to get you to reveal data or write checks.

5. Late Payment Scam; As people fall behind on their utilities or taxes, lists are created and available either internally or as public record. These lists fall into the wrong hands and thieves call you to collect.

6. Affinity Fraud; The Madoff scandal has inspired a new generation of cons to adopt the Ponzi once again

7. Advanced Fee Fraud; Now more than ever if it seems to good to be true it is. Desperate times mean desperate people are making bad decisions and getting taken to the cleaners

8. Work at Home Scams; Millions of people laid off, millions looking for a job. There isnt a newspaper in the country that doesnt have a work at home scam ad.

9. Foreign lottery scams; The promise of money is overseas, not here at home and criminals are using the phone, email and snail mail to find their victims.

10. Identity Theft; Identity theives raised the bar in 2008 and ID Theft went up 22%. It will go up again in 2009.

11. Check Washing; Checks lost, stolen, pulled from the rubbish, stolen from your home or the entity you wrote it to are equal to cash when they are written with a pen that the ink washes out of.

Check washing is almost a billion dollar problem. I’ll have a video for you soon on this.

Uni-ball pens makes a cool pen that prevents “check washing”. Check washing is using household chemicals that literally wash the ink out of the paper, but the thief will leave your signature in place or do other things to reissue the check and get themselves paid.

Uni-ball pens with Uni-Super Ink help prevent identity theft,” Says Steve Gradman, who is senior brand manager of uni-ball. Their goal is to help ease the minds of individuals when writing sensitive materials – from legal and medical documents to checks and tax forms. It’s a simple, inexpensive pen, but it packs a lot of punch when it comes to identity theft prevention.”

As an advocate for uni-ball, I will happily be sharing many more exciting product offerings designed to help your business and your family protect yourselves! Have a question about identity theft, Email me!”

Who knew a pen packed a punch! Cool! I say if you can stop “check washing” with a pen for a few bucks then thats a smart investment.

I got a pen (a few actually, a couple in the home office, one in the kitchen, one in the car, 2 in my laptop bag because I’m always losing them when I travel.) I’ve known about check washing but haven’t seen lots of reports on it, because banks don’t like talking about it and the victims are embarrassed by it. So its not often reported in the media.

I found him on Twitter if you tweet.

When a scammer tries to wash or lift the inked information written on the document, the ink remains “trapped” within the fibers of the paper, thereby discouraging the efforts of identity thieves.


uni-ball® teams with Identity Theft Resource Center and Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano to Warn Consumers of Latest Scams and Offer Anti-Theft Solutions 

Oak Brook, Ill. – March 4, 2009 – Tax time scams are at an all-time high, according to Robert Siciliano, well-known identity and security theft expert and author of the book “The Safety Minute: How to Take Control of Personal Security and Prevent Fraud.”  As economic pressures continue to increase, Siciliano says criminal activities such as sophisticated, organized theft, including the number of new scams intended to trick consumers this tax season, are expected to rise as well. 

“More than 155 million tax forms were filed last year,” said Siciliano, “the majority of them without incident.1  But people need to understand that thieves are inventing new ways to steal identities each and every day.  And since tax time is a key period when we see a spike in identity theft, it’s crucial that we get the word out now and educate people about the latest scams.”  

As part of the its ongoing campaign to elevate awareness about the growing threat of identity theft, uni-ball®, a leading brand of pens, many of which contain specially formulated ink that helps prevent check fraud, is working with the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and Siciliano to help stop identity thieves in their tracks.   As CEO of, Siciliano has seen first-hand the brute blow identity theft delivers to its victims, and has helped scores of them dig out from the financial and emotional turmoil of being scammed.  

Together, the ITRC, Siciliano and uni-ball are issuing the following warnings, asking consumers to be on high alert during tax time for these identity theft scams and more:

·         Professional Thieves and Targeted Attacks.  The ITRC anticipates an increase in more sophisticated ways to “mine” information, sometimes by organized crime groups. Cybercrime, which includes transporting or selling large amounts of personal information from one group both nationally and internationally, will continue and expand. Part of this trend includes “skimming” (duplicate scanning of credit cards or debit cards), and the use of fake fronts on payment scanners and ATM machines. 

uni-ball® teams with Siciliano to promote simple anti-theft solutions during tax season – Add One

·         Tax Preparer Scams.  Most recently, there are reports of tax preparers telling clients they must pay back their 2008 stimulus payments and then pocketing the money.  Not all professional tax preparers have your best interest at heart, according to the ITRC.  Make sure you do research and choose your tax preparer wisely.

·         Check Fraud. As it becomes more difficult to get new lines of credit, identity thieves may be increasingly drawn to commit check fraud. These crimes may take the form of stolen checks, using checks thrown into the trash by unknowing consumers, or a type of identity theft known as “check washing.” Check washing occurs when checks or other tax-related documents are stolen from the mail or by other means and the ink is erased using common household chemicals, allowing thieves to endorse checks to themselves.   This is where something as simple and inexpensive as a uni-ball pen can help.  Select Uni-ball pens contain specially formulated gel ink (trademarked Uni-Super Ink™) that is absorbed into the paper’s fibers and can never be washed out. 

·         Late Payment Scam.  As people fall behind on their utilities or taxes, lists are created and available either internally or as public record. These lists can fall into the wrong hands and thieves call unassuming people to collect.

  • Text Messaging Scams: Phexting.  Criminal hackers have access to everything these days, including the technology that generates cell phone numbers, as well as access to mass text messaging services. Once the data is secured, they are able to send text messages that install keyloggers (a method of capturing and recording user keystrokes) or direct you to Web sites that steal personal data.

·         Internet Scams: Phishing.  Phony e-mails that try to trick customers into giving out personal information are the hottest, and most disturbing, new scam on the Internet. “Phishing” frauds attempt to make Internet users believe they are receiving email from a specific, trusted source, or that they are securely connected to a trusted Web site, when that is not the case.  This scam is generally used as a means to convince individuals to provide personal or financial information that enables the perpetrators to commit credit card, bank fraud or other forms of identity theft.

“Identity theft is a giant octopus,” said Siciliano.  “Educate yourself on the many facets of the problem and learn your options to defend yourself from each leg of this monster.  Doing something as simple as paying attention to the pen you use could save you thousands of dollars and endless hours of headaches.  Personally, I never write checks or sign important documents without using a uni-ball gel pen with specially formulated Uni-Super Ink.”  

“Uni-ball pens with Uni-Super Ink help prevent identity theft,” said Steve Gradman, senior brand manager of uni-ball.  “Our goal is to help ease the minds of individuals when writing sensitive materials – from legal and medical documents to checks and tax forms.  It’s a simple, inexpensive pen, but it packs a lot of punch when it comes to identity theft prevention.

uni-ball®teams with Siciliano to promote simple anti-theft solutions during tax season – Add Two 

Many uni-ball pens, including the uni-ball 207 gel pen, the Jetstream, Jetstream RT and Vision Elite roller ball pens, use specially formulated inks that contain tiny color pigments.  This exclusive “Super Ink™” helps prevent document and check fraud by absorbing into the paper fibers. When an individual tries to wash or lift the inked information written on the document, the ink remains “trapped” within the fibers of the paper, thereby discouraging the efforts of identity thieves.

Identity theft rose 22 percent in 2008, and Siciliano predicts it will go up again in 2009.   “Now is the time to become educated in order to prevent this offensive crime,” he said.

 For more information on how to protect yourself this tax season, visit



About uni-ball®

uni-ball® is a world leader in providing an optimal writing experience, offering writing instruments with superior functionality and affordability.  From the JetStream® pen’s smooth write to the intense color and superior performance of the uni-ball 207 gel pen, the brand allows one to enjoy the ultimate in writing performance coupled with a distinctive, contemporary style.  Newell Rubbermaid Office Products, marketer and distributor of uni-ball® pens in North America, is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products and office organization and technology products, including such well known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, DYMO® Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, uni-ball®, and Rolodex®, among others. Visit for more information.

About Robert Siciliano

Robert Siciliano “The Lifesaver” is an expert on personal security and identity theft. He has 25 years of experience in self-defense, security work, martial arts and white collar crimes.  An author, sought after media personality and identity theft speaker, Robert has been seen on the Today Show, CBS Early Show, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CNBC, USA Today, Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Readers Digest, Consumer Digest, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, ABC, TechRepublic, Search Security, AP, UPI, Reuters, and Entrepreneur. Robert recently released his third book, “The Safety Minute: How to Take Control of Personal Security and Prevent Fraud”.

About the ITRC

The San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is a non-profit (501(c) 3) organization established in December 1999, to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. It is the on-going mission of the ITRC to assist victims, educate consumers, research identity theft and increase public and corporate awareness about this problem.