Every week, it seems, another big company announces that it has lost thousands or millions of sensitive records on American consumers. Morgan Stanley. Sony. Cord Blood Registry.
Ever wonder why American consumers keep getting hit by data breaches? It’s because we’re the lowest-hanging fruit for thieves, says Adam Dolby, director of electronic banking at Gemalto, an electronic security company.
The recent revelations regarding the outrageous escapades of certain News Corp. subsidiaries, and the employees thereof, have been so scandalous as to capture and dominate the attention of the worldwide media for several weeks. For once, most Americans began to follow business news with the obsessive fascination normally accorded “Jersey Shore” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
This story has everything: the resignations and apparent bribery of high Scotland Yard officials; the arrest of very prominent editors and “journalists”; and the amazingly brazen invasion of the privacy of the Prime Minister of England. But it doesn’t just involve prominent names like David Cameron or Gordon Brown or even Rupert Murdoch (probably the most famous and powerful of the three.) It involves the invaded privacy of both fallen and returning soldiers and their families, the compromise of the sanctity of a child’s medical records, the attempted bribery of American law enforcement officials to obtain access to cell phones of the September 11 dead; and even, most pitifully, the manipulation of family members of an abducted 13-year-old girl who were misled into believing that their daughter was still alive because her cell phone messages were erased after her abduction—and of course after her death. (more…)
It’s summer and teenagers have nothing but time on their hands to surf the Internet. Give your world-weary, tech-savvy teen these tips to stay out of trouble online.
It’s the season every parent of a teenager dreads—summer—when sons and daughters have nothing but time on their hands…and they spend most of it online. Parents can’t supervise their teens around the clock—not that most would listen to what Mom and Dad have to say about their Internet activities anyway. So how can you protect your fiercely independent, world-weary, tech-savvy teen—the one with the bad case of selective hearing—from trouble online? (more…)
Identity Theft 911 has partnered with First Star, a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in child protective services, criminal and family courts, and foster care systems, to deliver proactive and reactive identity theft services and education to foster youth.
At long last, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launches officially this week. Unfortunately, so far it seems that what happens on Thursday, July 21st could be more of a lurch than a launch. As has been rumored over the past few weeks, President Obama bypassed the chief architect and advocate of the Bureau, Elizabeth Warren, to be its first director. He nominated Richard Cordray, the former Attorney General of Ohio, who rose to national prominence for his aggressive and largely successful attacks against financial fraud. In many ways he led the charge of state officials seeking to redress large-scale and truly national frauds.
Mr. Cordray is tough, real smart and a first-class guy. He comes with one hell of an endorsement—Elizabeth Warren chose him to be her Chief of Enforcement. No one is rooting for him more than I am.
This week I had the opportunity to attend a fascinating forum in Washington, DC, to explore the myriad issues surrounding child identity theft, including foster care identity theft (a particularly cruel malady foisted upon children who already begin life behind the eight ball) and identity theft within families. The event was sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission and the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and was attended by victims, businesses and representatives from federal and state governments, law enforcement, educational institutions, consumer advocates and legal service providers. It’s heartening that so many people care about this issue, but the clock is ticking, children’s futures are being compromised every day, and finding a real solution to the problem is becoming more critical by the moment.
A stolen credit card is an obvious threat to a consumer’s identity, since a string of fraudulent purchases can swiftly undo someone’s good credit standing. But most identity-related fraud occurs outside the credit system, according to a recent survey by IdentityHawk, a company that sells identity protection services.
The company found that 17% of American consumers have been victims of ID theft, and 28% of all households have at least one member who’s been hit by the crime.
Our economy is still struggling and consumers are looking for value—and quality—in everything they buy and every service they use. Identity theft protection services should be no exception.
PC World recently reported on viable “free” identity theft options out there. But as we’ve heard it said before—nothing in life is truly free. Many of the companies mentioned do provide a bare-bones service. More often than not, these services are an enticement to buy higher-end products at full price.
They get your money, and they get your personally identifiable information (PII). In order to sign up for identity theft protection services, you have to hand over a lot of vital data about yourself. Do you really want to give this to a company you’ve never done business with before—especially one that’s offering you something for free?
As someone who provides personal risk management solutions and advice to families with significant insurable wealth, I am often surprised at how challenging it can be to get clients to truly engage in a discussion on managing the risks associated with identity theft. I remind all consumers that developing a plan to effectively manage the risks of a stolen identity is a critical part of any personal risk management program. (more…)