Did you know that April is National Financial Literacy month? Having worked in the security and identity theft space for nearly a decade, I've seen how victims of identity theft have been shocked or angered about the crime's effects on their finances. In observence of the coming month, we will be including some posts about the financial side of identity theft.
The purpose of this blog series is to educate people about the ways that identities are stolen.
Keep in mind, these stories are true (although I have omitted specific details for our members’ protection) and are described by our Identity Theft Resolution Agents. As you read these stories, think about ways that you can protect yourself from identity theft.
Identity thief uses the mail to steal tax information and commit multiple crimes
Recently, one of our Identity Theft Resolution Agents received a frantic call from a newly-enrolled member. The member was a victim of identity theft and was very concerned since the theft involved a change of address, multiple accounts, and even a new luxury car. Here’s what happened.
ProtectMyID is pleased to work with The Automobile Club of Southern California to host a freee Shred-A-Thon at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles this Saturday, 3/26/11. Now is the perfect time to Spring clean the office, garage, and so forth and decide what you need to shred. Read our recent post about what to shred and what to keep if you are unsure.
It's tax season, and that means you should keep an eye out for tax scams that will run rampant this time of year. One such scam that fraudsters are taking advantage of are online tax scams. How this works is the victim receives an e-mail requesting that he or she completes an updated version of the government’s W-2 form because of “important changes” within the forms. The updated form is conveniently attached to the e-mail and it appears to have come directly from the IRS.
The apparent benefits of RFID credit card transactions are convenience, speed and the elimination of employee contact with the card. To minimize accidental reading of these cards, they are designed to be read at a distance of 1 – 4 inches from the reader.
There is current public concern as to whether RFID cards can be “hi-jacked” by use of an unauthorized RFID scanner, and then the information used for fraudulent purposes. It is important to note that there are two parts to this process: Scanning the card to retrieve the information, and then being able to use the retrieved information to make a fraudulent financial transaction. The implication in recent media articles is that it is easy to “hi-jack” the RFID information, and that it is easy to then use this information to make fraudulent purchases. ITRC has requested information from a variety of technical resources to review this assertion, including information provided by the card manufacturers. ITRC is still in our investigative process, but this is what we have learned so far
Convenient, quick and easy, online shopping has revolutionized the exchange of goods and services. While it may be tempting to breeze through the checkout process, don’t ease up on your security defenses. According to research by the National Cyber Security Alliance (http://staysafeonline.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=71,) many Americans do practice caution when shopping online. Our findings indicate that over 60% of consumers have abandoned a purchase on a specific website since because of security concerns. The reasons vary from lack of information about privacy policies to too much information being requested by the site.
While consumers grasp the importance of protecting their medical and personal information, few individuals take the necessary precautions to avoid medical identity theft. This finding comes from the second annual National Study on Medical Identity Theft by The Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Experian’s ProtectMyID™, a leading, full-service provider of identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution.
Medical identity theft happens when a person uses your name and address, Social Security number and/or medical insurance policy number to obtain medical services, prescriptions or even surgery. It also occurs when a dishonest person in a medical facility uses your information for fraudulent activity, such as filing for medical services that were never provided. An example of this would be a situation when that imposter benefits financially because the insurance company or federal benefit program would pay them directly for what they think are real services.
Medical services aren’t cheap. In fact, MyBankTracker identified illness as one of the top 10 most common causes of debt. So, medical identity theft and its costly repercussions is something that everyone should be concerned about. In future blog posts, we’ll go into the many different types of medical identity theft. Today, we will go over how to protect your identity from this type of fraud.
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With security breaches and identity theft cases frequently in the news, consumers are worried about becoming identity theft victims. Responding to this concern, dozens of companies offer identity theft services. In 2009, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) took a critical look at for-profit identity theft services and identified some serious problems, including misleading claims about preventing identity theft, unclear information about how services worked, and exaggerations about what guarantees or insurance provided.(1) Today, CFA released Best Practices for Identity Theft Services, which were developed with a working group consisting of identity theft service providers and consumer advocates. "Our aim is to curb misleading claims in the identity theft service marketplace and promote responsible industry practices," said Susan Grant, CFA's Director of Consumer Protection, who led the project.