Who Has Access to Your Personal Info? The Answer Might Surprise You

Are you aware that many people probably have access to your personal info? If you have ever gotten an apartment, have insurance, or applied for a job, someone has done a background check on you, and you might be shocked by what’s in there, including your debts, income, loan payments, and more. On top of this, there are also companies collecting information on you including:

  • Lenders
  • Employers
  • Government agencies
  • Volunteer organizations
  • Landlords
  • Banks/credit unions
  • Insurance companies
  • Debt collectors
  • Utility companies…and more

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can get a copy of these reports every year for a small fee, and they are free if there has been any type of adverse action against you. You can also get this information from certain organizations including the following:

Credit Agencies

Most people know the main credit reporting bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. The reports that these companies give you can include your loan and credit card payment history, how much credit you have, info from debt collectors, and other information.

Employment Screening

If you have applied for a job, you might have gone through employee screening. These employers have access to things like your salary history, credit history, education, and even criminal history.

Housing/Tenant Screening

If you have ever rented an apartment or home, your landlord might have done a background check, too. This might include prior evictions and other negative information.

Banking and Check Screening

Your bank also might have information on you, which could include your banking history, such as negative balances on your checking account or unpaid bills.

Medical Insurance

Finally, if you have medical insurance, your insurance company has probably also done a background check on you. These policies include life insurance, health insurance, long-term care insurance, critical illness insurance, or disability insurance.

Lifehacker and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 2019 report compiled a pretty amazing list below. Check it out.

The nice thing about these things, however, is that you have a right to access all of these reports, too. In most cases, these reports are free. You can ask these organizations what background check companies they are using, and then you might be able to request a free report. Again, if there is any negative information on these reports that cause you to, for instance, not be hired by an employer, you will automatically get a free copy of this report so you can see the derogatory information for yourself, and then take any steps you can to change it.

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.

Healthcare High on Hackers’ Hitlist

If you think that retailers are the biggest target for cyber criminals, you have it more than a wee bit wrong. Hackers are really going after the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. In fact, “Will Healthcare Be the Next Retail?” is the name of a recent report released by BitSight Technologies, a security ratings firm.

4DThe report claims that not all victims of healthcare hacking report breaches, so figuring out the total number of these attacks is difficult. However, the Ponemon Institute released a report stating that hacking into healthcare and insurance companies has jumped 100 percent since 2010.

Why such a jump? It could be due to the fact that healthcare-type enterprises have gotten onto the BYOD (bring your own device) bandwagon. This is almost analogous to an employee infected with a stomach virus coming into the building and spreading the sickness.

Another dynamic: as more doctors use technology to stay connected to their patients, it won’t be surprising to see breaches become more common in the healthcare sector.

What distinguishes healthcare-industry hacking from retail hacking is that the retail hacker simply wants a credit card number. But the crook who cracks into medical records—that’s your patients’ individual profile chockfull of personal medical information.

Healthcare hackers may want to steal your patients’ identities to commit insurance fraud, so your records should be diligently monitored.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He 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. Disclosures.

Insurance Company fined BIG for Breach

Why would an insurance company be fined for a data breach?

2DThere was a security breach at Triple-S Salud, Inc. (TSS), which is a subsidiary of Triple-S Management GTS. The Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration plans on imposing a $6.8 million fine on TSS.

The breach involved 13,336 of TSS’s Dual Eligible Medicare beneficiaries. The penalty includes suspending all new DEM enrollments and alerting enrollees of their right to back out.

The PRHIA says that Triple-S failed to implement all the required steps in response to the security breach.

TSS sent out a pamphlet last September that unintentionally showed the Medicare Health Insurance Claim Number of some of the recipients. This is a unique number that’s assigned by the Social Security Administration. It’s considered to be protected health information.

An investigation was carried out by TSS, and this subsidiary did report the incident to federal government agencies and Puerto Rico. TSS complied with the PRHIA’s requests for information pertaining to the DEM beneficiaries. TSS also took additional measures, one of which was that of issuing an alert of the breach through local media; all of the affected beneficiaries were notified by mail of the breach.

In the filing, Triple-S affirms that it takes the matter very seriously and is “working to prevent this type of incident from happening again.” However, it’s currently not able to assess the financial impact of the breach on TSS, nor can it estimate the sanctions’ impact.

Triple-S adds that a response is being prepared by TSS to give to the PRHIA, and that TSS has a right to make a request for an administration hearing.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He 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. Disclosures.

Organized Crime Drives Increasing Auto Insurance Costs

All over the world, insurance fraud equates to a multi-billion dollar issue. The Guardian reports that in the United Kingdom, “insurance fraud [has] been on the rise since the recession began. Figures to be published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) are expected to show that these are still on the rise. As it is, the ABI puts the total cost to the industry of undetected general insurance claims fraud at £2bn per year. This adds around £40 a year to the insurance premiums paid by all policyholders.”

Much of this increase is said to be due to the involvement of organized criminals. The most common fraud technique is known as a “crash for cash” scam, in which criminals slam on their brakes in order to cause an accident with the car behind them, leaving the victim’s insurance on the hook for the cost of damages.

One way of minimizing fraud is to stop organized criminals from transacting with a business over the Internet. Online insurance, retail, gaming, and even dating sites can weed out risky accounts based on devices’ reputations using iovation’s device identification service. When PCs, Macs, tablets, or smartphones collude, a pattern can be detected and fraud can be prevented.

By utilizing iovation’s fraud detection service, insurance companies can not only recognize high-risk devices responsible for creating fraudulent online policies, but also avoid paying for frequent “crash for cash” scams and help to reduce the rise in premiums for honest policyholders.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses identity theft  in front of the National Speakers Association. (Disclosures)

5 Insidious Forms of Auto Insurance Fraud

Insurance is intended to have your back in the event that something goes wrong, but some individuals have found loopholes in the system, effectively turning insurance companies into their own personal banks. These scammers have long been known to engage in “slip and falls,” claiming “whiplash,” and engaging in elaborate scams that can take years to uncover and cost insurance companies millions.

Auto insurance scams are some of the most prevalent in the insurance industry, allowing fraudsters to easily obtain policies and take advantage of the “he said, she said” nature of auto accidents.

Here are five major scams plaguing the industry:

1. Ghost brokers: Even in such a heavily regulated industry, scammers are able to pose as legitimate insurance agents, offering steep discounts on consumer policies that are, in fact, worthless.

2. Crash for cash: These are typically rear-end accidents in which the victims unintentionally crash into the scammers. “Crash for cash” scams often occur at roundabouts or rotaries, intersections, and highway on-ramps. See the UK’s top crash for cash hotspots.

3. Soft tissue scams: Scammers may collude with physical therapists, chiropractors, and doctors to fake back pain, neck pain, and other hard-to-prove injuries that can’t be detected on an X-ray.

4. Staging scams: Generally, in this type of scam two or more cars are involved in a preplanned “accident.” The participants have agreed ahead of time to split the proceeds from repairs and injuries.

5. Phantom victims: After either a staged or legitimate accident, people who were not present at the incident are included in the claim.

In most cases, scammers file their fraudulent insurance claims online. The criminals who perpetrate these sorts of online scams tend to repeat their trick over and over, generating a pattern that can easily be detected by iovation’s device reputation service. This service spots online evildoers by examining the computers, smartphones, and tablets being used to connect to a website. If a device is recognized as having previously committed financial crimes, or is a new device but exhibiting high-risk behavior, the website has the opportunity to reject the transaction, preventing losses to the business before they occur.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses identity theft  in front of the National Speakers Association. (Disclosures)

How Device Reputation Can Help Prevent Fraud in the Insurance Industry

Insurance companies, like banks and retailers, are forced to deal with a wide spectrum of fraud, which costs the industry and its customers billions of dollars each year. According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, “Undetected general insurance claims fraud total £1.9billion a year adding on average £44 to the annual costs individual policyholders face, on average, each year.”

Savvy criminals who perpetrate insurance fraud have learned to mask their true identities when setting up policies online, regularly changing account information to circumvent conventional methods of fraud detection. Now, more than ever, insurance companies need to be wary of these schemes from the onset and deploy effective solutions to analyze information beyond that supplied by users.

By initiating the application process with a device reputation check provided by iovation Inc., insurance companies can stop fraud before it happens and avoid further checks and fees when a device is known to be associated with identity theft and other frauds.

The insurance industry has an opportunity to work in tandem with merchants, banks, and others to share data that helps pinpoint the devices responsible for fraudulent activity. Shared device reputation intelligence makes this possible for the first time.
The insurance industry can utilize the established reputations of over 800 million devices in iovation’s device reputation knowledge base. While a computer applying for insurance on a site may be new for the first time, it is rarely new to iovation’s global client base. By assessing risk based on the device in real-time, an insurance company can better determine whether a particular device is trustworthy before a transaction has been approved or an account has been opened.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses identity theft  in front of the National Speakers Association. (Disclosures)