Special ID Theft News Bulletin for June 2012 – LinkedIn Passwords May Need To Be Updated!

Recent news articles all over the web have reported that popular websites such as LinkedIn and eHarmony have had millions of usernames and passwords hacked in the past few days. Those who have accounts on these websites would do well to visit the website directly and change their password, just in case they are affected.

Here is a link to a report about a spam campaign that has already begun as a result of the recent breach at LinkedIn.

If you have a fairly easy to guess password, you might want to consider changing it to something that would be hard for others to guess, yet something that you can remember or have easy access to. Please view our previous blog post about passwords here.

Consider Getting More Protection With LifeLock Ultimate

Our readers have seen many articles and videos both on our blog and on various websites and news stories where identity theft continues to be a problem. Those who become a victim are hit when they least expect it, but now anyone can get more protection with LifeLock Ultimate.

Let’s first do a review of what you will receive with the basic LifeLock plan: notification of threats to your credit and non-credit accounts within the extent of their network (see the LifeLock.com website for details), being removed from pre-approved credit offers, a members only dashboard of alerts specific to you, monitoring known criminal websites for illegal trading of your personal information, monitoring national databases for new address registered under you, assistance with stolen or lost wallet to help replace credit/debit cards and much more. Of course, we recommend that you view their website at LifeLock.com for full details and more information on how these services work for you.

LifeLock Ultimate is one of the newer additions to the LifeLock family of services and has some added features that you should consider before signing up for only their basic plan. It offers all of the services of the basic LifeLock plan, and enhances them by also offering: an expanded scope of threats to you personally including court and public records, monitoring for use of your known alternate names, survey unregulated global networks and file sharing sites for your information, alerts for credit inquiries, alerts for new checking and savings accounts in your name, monitoring of tri-bureau credit reports, changes to contact information on existing bank accounts and more.

Can you do any of this yourself? The answer is yes, some of it you can. Others, it might help to have help with or you can not do yourself. Can you scan the internet for your personal financial information and see if it is being illegally sold or traded? Do you regularly look at public or court records to see if you are included in error? Do you know how to begin to get your life back if you do become the victim of identity theft? You get the point.

Whether these services are worth it to you personally, of course is up to you, however, we recommend that you please at least look into it. You only need to visit a few of the pages of our blog to see the wide range of areas where identity theft can creep into your financial life.

IDTheftNews.com is also offering readers a discount using the promotion code DEFENSE at checkout on the LifeLock.com website.

Child Identity Theft

Parents: Please watch the following video that was featured on the Today show last year. It is happening to children, even before they are born! Start protecting them now.

PayPal Helps Fight Phishing Scams

Email “phishing” has become a very popular way to try to get consumers to enter personal information on invalid websites. Many times someone will receive an email from what looks to be a valid source, however, it has actually been sent by a thief! These type of emails are being sent from hackers claiming to be from various companies like UPS, FedEx, IRS, eBay, PayPal, Bank of America and hundreds of others. It is important to know how to spot a phishing scam from any company, however, for those who use PayPal, there is a higher level of protection needed because of the services they provide. How does one protect themselves against this type of scam?

One way is to take a challenge provided by PayPal.com. At this website, it will give a 5 question challenge to see if you are on your toes when it comes to this type of scam. It helps you to spot whether or not a senders email address is legitimate, what type of information they will NOT ask for in the form of an email, whether or not they will include attachments in their emails, and whether or not you should click links in emails from them.

This is a very helpful challenge for everyone who uses email to take, just to be sure that they are aware of what phishing really is. Paypal provides an email address to forward questionable emails to, should you receive one. To learn more, go to the website for PayPal and read the Security and Protection topics.

Cell Phone ID Theft

Remember the days when you could leave home without an electronic device in hand? When people had to wait until you got home to reach you on your home phone or had to write you a letter and pay for the stamp to mail it?

With the convenience of the email, cell phones and even social media, many no longer have “land” lines in their home. Each family member has their own phone number and email address. Many no longer know the mailing address of family and friends since they have the option to text, email or chat with them online or on their cell phone.

Advances in technology are great, but they also come at a price. With the invention of smart phones that include cameras, you can take photos and email them to show them off. Photos of the kids, the dog, your latest toy or gadget. Many also use their phones for online banking, bill paying and shopping.

Identity thieves who are good computer hackers find them helpful as well. They can use computers to view what someone is viewing on their cell phone. Whatever website the cell phone user is visiting, will show up on the screen of the hacker. If the cell phone user thinks they are only securely entering their credit card information on the website they are viewing, they are mistaken. The hacker can see what they are typing in as well and has the users credit card information.

Hackers have also found a way to call cell phone users using phony caller id information. It may appear that your bank or a friend is calling, when it is really a hacker “phishing” for personal information about the user.

How do you protect yourself from these predators? First, unprotected voicemail can easily be hacked and might provide hackers with information that you don’t want them to have access to. Set up your voicemail so that a password has to be entered to retrieve messages. Also, if you use your cell phone to do online baking or to shop online, do not use unprotected, free WiFi spots to do so. Use only secure networks that you know and trust.

International Fraud Awareness Week

Fraud has become such a large problem, that a week has been dedicated to fraud awareness around the world – November 6-12, 2011. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) is urging organizations around the globe to focus awareness toward this growing problem. Businesses are asked to take a proactive approach by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education.

There have been recent articles by The Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker.com and Consumer Reports that offer helpful information on how to protect yourself on and off-line. Many identity theft blogs offer tips as well. It would even help to read accounts of those who have had their identity stolen, just to see the impact it would have if it were to happen to you one day. Have you ever received a letter from a company, agency or institution informing you that their data records have been accessed and that you are being notified so that you can take the proper precaution? They might even offer you a year of free identity theft monitoring services, to help put your mind at ease. However, did you know that identity thieves will often keep and either sell or use that sensitive data long after they have acquired it? An identity thief could steal your social security number and not use it for several years. They are waiting for victims to let their guard down, before using the data. After all, will your social security number change in 2-5 years from now? Will your name change? You get the point.

LifeLock has been offering not only identity theft protection services to consumers, but also educational instruction to law enforcement officials nationwide for several years now. This is in an effort to help combat this growing problem of identity theft. There is much work to be done, and many people are unaware of the impact that this can have on them personally and on their families. It is important to be aware of this problem and to join the many that are working to help with the effort to detect and prevent identity theft and fraud.

Whether you choose to monitor your credit yourself, or to use a credit monitoring service, be sure that you don’t ignore this growing problem. Have you seen your credit report lately? If so, did you recognize all of the items listed? If you did not, take steps to report any theft of your credit. Also, regularly check bank and credit card statements for any unusual activity.

Identity Theft and Tax Returns

Identity Theft and Facebook

With the internet having moved into the age of “social media”, people need to be aware of the dangers that lurk with seemingly “innocent” websites, like Facebook.

Many enjoy the ability to be able to connect with friends and family on Facebook, but they don’t realize the amount of risk associated with their habits. Many Facebook users, especially the younger generations, tend to be willing to Read the rest of this entry »

15 Year Long Identity Theft Case Ends

A 15-year victim of identity theft is finally able to see some closure to his problem.A Las Vegas resident has spent the better part of the last few years working on resolving an issue with his social security number. Turns out that his number was stolen as far back as 1979 and the thief was recently caught.

ABC News reports that the thief  stole the identity of a then 35 year old victim. The now 73 year old thief has lived under his “stolen” social security number since 1979 and has been also filing tax returns.

The problem was recently recognized once the victim moved to another state, which prompted the IRS to contact him in regard to unpaid taxes on additional income he was receiving.

It took the victim a long time to convince the IRS that he was not responsible for additional earnings being reported in his name and social security number. He had to personally track down the thief and then contact his local senator for additional help.

The full story is quite interesting. View the full details here at ABC News.

Thieves Are “Phishing” For Your Information

Please watch this one closely. “Phishing” doesn’t just mean that you read an email that looks legitimate and click a link. Interesting video…