Posts

3 Stupid Simple Tips to protect your Identity

For anyone who goes online, it’s impossible to hack-proof yourself, but not impossible to make a hacker’s job extremely difficult. Here are three things to almost hack-proof yourself.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-identity-theft-red-words-binary-code-computer-monitor-image39907813Two-factor authentication. Imagine a hacker, who has your password, trying to get into your account upon learning he must enter a unique code that’s sent to your smartphone. He doesn’t have your smartphone. So he’s at a dead-end.

The two-factor authentication means you’ll get a text message containing a six-digit number that’s required to log into your account from someplace in public or elsewhere. This will surely make a hacker quickly give up. You should use banks and e-mail providers that offer two-factor. Two factor in various forms is available on Gmail, iCloud, PayPal, Twitter, Facebook and many other sites.

Don’t recycle passwords. If the service for one of your accounts gets hacked, the exposed passwords will end up in the hands of hackers, who will invariably try those passwords on other sites. If you use this same password for your banker, medical health plan and Facebook…that’s three more places your private information will be invaded.

And in line with this concept of never reusing passwords, don’t make your multiple passwords sound schemed (e.g., Corrie1979, Corry1979, Corree1979) for your various accounts, because a hacker’s penetration tools may figure them out.

Use a password manager. With a password manager, you’ll no longer be able to claim not being able to remember passwords or “figure out” how to create a strong password as excuses for having weak, highly crackable passwords. You’ll only need to know the master password. All of your other passwords will be encrypted, penetrable only with the master password.

A password manager will generate strong passwords for you as well as conduct an audit of your existing passwords.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Identity proofing proves who You are

Identity proofing is proof of whom you are. Proving one’s identity starts with that person answering questions that only they themselves can answer (even if the answers are fictitious), such as their favorite movie, mother’s maiden name or name of their high school. Since most people provide real answers (that can be found online) rather than “Pointy Ear Vulcan Science Academy” as the name of their high school, this technique is on its way to the dogs.

8DMichael Chertoff, the former chief of the Department of Homeland Security, stated, “I’m going to submit to you that in the 21st Century, the most important asset that we have to protect as individuals and as part of our nation is the control of our identity, who we are, how we identify ourselves, whether other people are permitted to masquerade and pretend to be us, and thereby damage our livelihood, damage our assets, damage our reputation, damage our standing in our community.”

New Jersey suffered one of the biggest unemployment frauds, and to date, has identified over 300,000 people who attempted to fraudulently collect benefits via ID theft, among other improper schemes but also honest errors. However, New Jersey is turning things around.

It’s the only state that’s used identity proofing to fight unemployment benefit fraud, which mandates that job applicants verify a number of personal details through a quiz on New Jersey’s labor department’s website.

The use of billions of public records, collected by LexisNexis, verifies the details, to filter out imposters seeking unemployment benefits. The idea is for honest people to provide answers to questions: information that crooks can’t extract from googling.

This approach has rewarded New Jersey well, with nearly 650 cases of potential ID theft prevented. The state has also saved $65 million since May 2012 after blocking foreign IP addresses from gaining access to its unemployment system. Other states are following suit.

Improper payments (including for jobless benefits) have been occurring for years. Over $176 million in grants, to stop this problem, was issued by Washington in 2013 to 40 states. The errors in unemployment benefits payments on a national level have been about 10 percent for the past 10 years.

Businesses and government frequently must take the brunt of the fraud and waste despite an unemployment insurance system in place.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Graduates beware of Identity Theft

Worried about finding a job after you graduate from college? Worried about paying off your debts? It gets uglier: New college grads need to think about their identities being stolen. One-third of identity theft complaints come from young adults.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-identity-theft-red-words-binary-code-computer-monitor-image39907813A new college graduate will often have a clean credit history. If the new college graduate discovers, however, that their credit score is inexplicably low, it’s probably because their identity has been stolen. This can be a nightmare.

Compounding the issue is that some businesses will check the job applicant’s credit report and use this information against them by not hiring.

Prior to graduation, the college student should do a credit check; it can be done annually online free of charge. Young adults should never have an “It can’t happen to ME” approach to one of life’s raw realities: the proliferation of identity theft.

College students should always shred all of their bank related statements, credit card statements and all other documents that contain very personal information.

College students should avoid posting their birthdates, phone numbers and addresses on social media.

Additional Tips

  • Ask your parents to explain whatever they know to you about online scams like malicious e-mails (phishing), suspicious pop-up ads, buying apps from third party sellers, etc.
  • Avoid debit cards; use only a credit card because thieves prefer to steal identities through debit cards.
  • Memorize your SSN so you can keep your SSN card in a safe place at all times.
  • Check your credit card statements every month for suspicious charges.
  • Never give out your SSN, even if the clerk at the retail store insists they need it so that they can give you an intro 15 percent off with the store’s credit card.
  • Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to check your credit report every year.
  • Get identity theft protection and a credit freeze.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

The Future of Identity Theft

Identity theft evolves as technology progresses. The Identity Theft Resource Center explains the future of this crime.

11DDefinition of Identity

The definition will swell up to include biometrics and behavior, not just driver’s license number and SSN. So your identity can be defined by how you move a mouse and your keystroke patterns.

Medical Identity

There’s no focal mechanism for the mitigation of medical identity theft, making it easy for thieves to keep getting medical treatment. Many people get their medical identity stolen without knowing it.

Statistics

Crime rate statistics are not telling the whole story. The illusion is that crime rates are on the decline; this is because statistics do not include all fraud activity. The primary indicator in crime statistics reports doesn’t even include identity theft.

Mobile wallets will not take over the world—at least not soon, anyways.

Though mobile wallets seem to be the next big wave in purchase technology, it’s not going to be easy convincing the masses to store every bit of their financial data in their smartphone. In fact, 64 percent of survey participants said they would not convert to a mobile wallet system (Consult Hyperion).

Affordability

All of these cool developments in the world of cyber communication will not necessarily apply to every single person; products cost money. So no matter how much it seems that times are changing or that people are “switching over” to some new technology, there will still be that demographic that’s seemingly left in the dust.

Finally…

It looks as though federal data breach notification laws will at last become a reality. Or so it seems.

Extra Layers

The dual and even multi-step authentication system will become more common, as more industries pick this up, to verify a user’s identity. And even consumers seem to be warming up to this.

Can’t have it both ways:

That is, security and convenience. With all the big data breaches lately, looks like privacy and security will win over convenience for the consumer.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Beware of Employees Who Lie About Their Identity

It’s way too easy for anyone to pretend to be someone else. When hiring, make sure you use identity proofing measures so you don’t get scammed.

When hiring, the first concern most companies have is determining how effective an employee will be. In fact, the first concern should be determining if the person is actually who he or she claims to be. Regardless of the nature of your business, an employee masquerading behind a false identity can wreak havoc on your company.

Michael Chertoff, the former chief of the Department of Homeland Security, stated, “I’m going to submit to you that in the 21st Century, the most important asset that we have to protect as individuals and as part of our nation is the control of our identity, who we are, how we identify ourselves, whether other people are permitted to masquerade and pretend to be us, and thereby damage our livelihood, damage our assets, damage our reputation, damage our standing in our community.”

We are functioning in an environment in which humans have yet to be truly verified or authenticated. There are 7 billion people on the planet using thousands of various forms of identification, but with little security. In the United States, the Social Security number is, regrettably, a national ID that is available in file cabinets and databases everywhere, including for sale online. There are thousands of variations on birth certificates (I have five different versions of my own); there are people selling fake IDs, from kids on college campuses all the way up to organized criminals; and credit is wide open, which means anyone who gets hold of anyone’s identification can get credit under that person’s name.

Protecting Yourself

It’s important to understand what identity proofing is. As you might have guessed, identity proofing simply refers to proving that individuals are who they say they are. Identity proofing often begins with personal questions, such as asking for the name of a first grade teacher, mother’s maiden name, first phone number, or the make and model of a first vehicle—as though (in theory) only the actual person would be able to provide the correct answers. Of course, this technique is not foolproof, and now that personal information is so readily available on the Internet, knowledge-based authentication is effectively on its way to extinction—and for good reason. 

The next step in identity proofing is documentation, such as a birth certificate, a copy of a utility bill, high school yearbook, mortgage statement or, of course, a driver’s license or passport. Some of these identifying documents can be scavenged from the trash, but they are effective proof when combined with personal questions. Biometric features, such as fingerprints or iris scans, can help further authenticate an individual’s identity.

Identity scoring, which is in use with many mortgage brokers today, is another effective identity proofing method. An identity-score system can tag and verify the legitimacy of an individual’s public identity using the Internet and both private and government websites. Identity scores are being used to prevent business fraud and to verify and correct public records. Identity scores incorporate a broad set of consumer data, including Internet data, corporate data, personal identifiers, credit records, public and government records, self-assessed behavior patterns and predicted behavior patterns based on empirical data.

Finally, fake IDs contribute to the exasperating problem of imposter fraud. Get the ID Checking Guide to assist you with employee ID verification. Verifying an ID is important, whether for an initial screening or a final ID check. By reducing fraudulent employment applications, time and money can be saved and problem employees who lead to litigation can be averted. 

Eventually, detection methods for fake IDs, such as smartcards, biometrics in all its forms, and multi-factor authentication, will help ensure that the identities presented can be trusted—and being an imposter won’t be so easy.

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.