Protecting Your Privacy: Tactics Straight from the Thieves

April 24, 2014 Leave a comment

A recent report called “The Fraudsters’ Playbook” detailed the most common ways that thieves recommend stealing an identity. Be aware of these common schemes so you do not fall for them:

  1. Fake Wi-Fi networks – thieves create deceptive Wi-Fi networks that closely mirror the real public network name to get you to install malware on your computer, which can track passwords and give them access to email and bank accounts. When using public networks, do not login to sensitive accounts such as banking sites or email accounts.
  2. Door-to-Door Census workers – fake census workers show up at your doorstep asking for name, address, date of birth, email or even more sensitive information and use it to steal your personal information. Be skeptical of anyone asking for your personal information and require proper credentials before giving information to anyone.
  3. Social Media Sites – thieves scrape social media sites in order to find personal information online that can be used to answer security questions for banking sites or other online accounts. Keep security settings as high as you can to limit the amount of information you share online.

If you have questions about identity theft protection or you think your information has been impacted, please contact InfoArmor.

*Source: Jumio, The Fraudsters’ Playbook

 

Categories: Privacy & Prevention

2014 Latest Identity Theft Statistics

April 23, 2014 Leave a comment

A recent survey estimated that last year identity theft affected over 13.1 million Americans.  That would equate to a new victim of fraud every two seconds. This is the second highest number of estimated victims in one year and can be attributed to a spike in the number of existing card fraud cases. The estimated fraud amount increased to over $18 billion in damages last year.

You can rest assured that we are monitoring your identity and proactively watching for misuse. If we detect suspicious activity, you will be the first to know. Additionally we will provide full-service identity restoration to help fix your identity in the event that you do suffer from fraud. If you think you are a victim or have questions about your service, please call us at the number listed below.

*Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, 2014 Identity Fraud Report. February 2014.

Tax Time Tips

March 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Tax return thieves use someone else’s Social Security number to file for a tax return for themselves, often even resulting in the victim’s wages being garnished for taxes the thief owes. It can be a lengthy process to convince the IRS that your have been a victim of identity theft and the money they believe you owe is not your responsibility.

This tax season, be sure to follow these tips:

  1. If you receive a phone call or email from the IRS it is a scam. Don’t give them any information; hang up on the caller or forward the email to spam@uce.gov for investigation.
  2. Check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure that your tax preparer is credible.
  3. Make sure your computer’s anti-virus software is up to date so hackers cannot access information on your computer. Password-protect sensitive documents that you store on your computer to prevent misuse.
  4. Check your mail frequently because an unlocked mailbox is an open invitation to thieves.  Be sure to take mail directly to the post office when mailing anything with sensitive information.
  5. Use a cross-shredder to dispose of any documents that you no longer need.
By staying vigilant about protecting your information you shouldn’t have any problems with your identity this tax season.  If you believe that your identity has been compromised, call an InfoArmor Privacy Advocate at 800.789.2720.

The Evolution of Fraud

March 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Identity theft is a constantly evolving industry. Years ago, identity theft damages were limited to credit card fraud for unauthorized purchases.  As banks and financial institutions adapted and put stronger preventative measures in place, thieves began using stolen Social Security number to open new lines of credit.

Today identity fraudsters find value in personal information. Even seemingly harmless information such as your pet’s name or an email can be valuable to a thief because it can be used to find more information through social media sites, online searches, or even more advanced techniques.  Hackers are now using social engineering and phishing schemes to trick the user into divulging information onto a seemingly legitimate site that is actually run by fraudsters. Thieves steal personal information to sell on the black market for pennies or dollars for full information profiles.

Because of this evolution of the crime, it is important to safeguard personal information to prevent exposure. Consumers must also be cautious to make sure that they only provide personal information when completely necessary and only to trusted companies. Learn more about InfoArmor’s solution at  www.infoarmor.com.

Online Safety

March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Follow these tips to protect yourself online:

  • Hover Before you Click – BEFORE clicking on a link, hover over the link to examine the URL that appears at the bottom of your browser. If the site is not the place you are intending to visit, do not click on this link. If you are browsing from your tablet or iPad, touch and hold the link to pull up a window with the true URL to check before tapping the link.
  • Password Management- Use a unique and complex password for each site you create a login for. Your passwords are the only thing standing between your banking information, social media sites, email accounts, etc. and hackers. Use a combination on upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols that cannot be found in the dictionary. Make passwords at least eight characters long.
  • Website Warnings – When given an option, do not let websites store your credit card information for future purchases. The fewer opportunities for exposure, the better. Only enter personal information on sites that begin with “https” meaning that they have been certified as secure sites with an encrypted connection. Do not use public, unsecured WiFi to perform financial or personal transactions as your credentials can be easily compromised.

If you are worried about your online safety, you should consider an identity monitoring company that will also monitor your information on the dark internet or places where thieves go to buy and sell personal information. InfoArmor’s solution includes “Internet Surveillance” to do just that. Learn more at http://www.infoarmor.com.

How PrivacyArmor Would Have Helped a Target Breach Victim

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Ever wonder how an Identity Protection solution could help you in light of a data breach like Target? The following describes how our product, PrivacyArmor, could have been able to help a Target customer who may have been compromised as part of the breach.

First of all, it is important to note that no privacy or identity protection product could have prevented what happened.  Unfortunately, the bad guys are continuing to use increasingly sophisticated methods for capturing and leveraging our personal information.  Further, simply because someone has enrolled in an identity protection service does not mean that they will not become the victim of identity fraud.  It is also important to distinguish between theft and identity fraud.  In the case of Target, personal information was breached and “stolen”.  This was what I would refer to as theft.  This theft may result in ID fraud, the opening of new accounts leveraging your personal information for the express purpose of perpetrating fraud, but certainly does not guarantee that identity fraud will result.

PrivacyArmor monitors account applications for fraudulent activity that leverages personal information, but cannot prevent theft.   However, there are features of our product that identify the emerging threat of exposure, in advance of other products.  The key is then taking appropriate action as rapidly as possible.    For instance, with our credential monitoring feature, we are looking for credit card numbers, email addresses, passwords, and other personal information that is exposed within the underground economy.  This is part of our PwnedList acquisition last summer.  If your information was exposed and dumped or transferred within this blackmarket/hacker world, as it occurred in the case of Target, our PwnedList team acquires the data, consumes the file and alerts those individuals with whom we have a monitoring relationship.  This is huge.  CreditArmor monitors new credit account activity and our SNAPD monitoring is looking for other account transactions, utility accounts, wireless accounts, payday loans and money transfers, etc.  Further, if a fraudster attempts to make a financial transfer leveraging our RSA high risk transaction KBA service, that attempted authentication would have triggered our subscriber to the fraudulent activity as well.   Once this exposure is identified, you are alerted and our remediation team (PrivacyAdvocates) jumps into action.  They are the clean-up crew that works to remediate issues and restore your identity.  The unfortunate reality is that once an individual has been a victim, they are more likely to be victimized again and have continuing problems.   Having a team of experts to rely on in this process is critical.

So, although we would not have prevented the Target breach, we would have been able to alert sooner, identify issues, and then remediate them as rapidly as possible, whether that is canceling and reissuing cards, placing fraud alerts, working with creditors, etc.   Services such as PrivacyArmor are similar to a home security service for you identity.  We can’t prevent everything, but we can alert you as early as possible to the emerging threat of fraud so that you can take action, hopefully, before something bad happens.

Categories: News

Data Breaches, Do your Part to Protect Your Information!

February 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Maybe you lucked out and were not impacted lately by a data breach but you are worried about future data leaks. While data breaches are often not preventable by the victim, there are a few steps that you should take to prevent your information from being exposed for easy access:

  • Be vigilant about checking accounts for suspicious activity
  • Use unique passwords for each online account you have
  • Be cautious about providing information to companies you don’t know as thieves may already have some of your personal details so don’t assume the call is genuine just for this reason alone
  • Be careful what details you choose to share online within social media outlets
  • Avoid saving your credit card number as a favorite when purchasing online. The fewer places your credit card number is stored online the better

You can protect yourself by watching accounts closely and using a company like ours to monitor your identity. If you have questions or believe that your identity has been compromised, please contact us at the number listed below.

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