Archive for the ‘Identity Theft’ Category

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Black Friday is just ahead. But in the mad rush for fabulous deals—online and in stores—we still have concerns about how retailers protect our payment card data, according to a new survey from the Identity Theft Resource Center and IDT911. Here’s a quick snapshot of our love-hate relationship with holiday shopping online.

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When it comes to personal data security, there’s no such thing as waiting ’til next year. That’s why the time is now to make resolutions about safeguarding your identity for 2015.

Here are five simple steps you can take even while viewing this article on your device: (more…)

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . for identity thieves. Don’t let them spoil your cheer. Follow these tips from IDT911 experts to protect your personal information when shopping online or in store, and traveling for the holidays.

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During the holiday shopping season, millions of Americans will take advantage of the convenience, speed and ease of online shopping: Spot it, love it, click it, and it’s on the way.

A recent survey found that 77 percent of respondents said they shop on the Internet, and the National Retail Federation predicts online sales during November and December to jump from 2013, accounting for $105 billion. (more…)

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Around this time last year, hackers pulled off what was then one of the largest retail data breaches the industry has seen. They unleashed Backoff malware on computer networks that have now reportedly attacked thousands of retailers’ point-of-sale systems. The largest victim then was Target, from which hackers stole millions of credit and debit card numbers.

So what can you do to keep your identity safe during this busy time of year? Follow a few simple tips to build smart habits, for now and into the new year. (more…)

With the 2015 tax season fast approaching, the Internal Revenue Service is working to warn consumers about potential identity theft scams, as it predicts cases of stolen identities will rise next year. The IRS is plagued with problems concerning identity theft as thieves are more sophisticated in how they take consumers' personal information to submit fake tax returns. Now, the IRS is cautioning consumers that scammers are calling taxpayers, saying they are required to mail their tax returns, .

However, while these calls may sound official and even claim that consumers have been victim of identity thieves during this contact, it was actually part of an elaborate plan to steal this information. These and other similar schemes have made it more difficult for the IRS to determine which tax returns are from legitimate taxpayers and which ones were sent as a result of identity theft. 

Criticism Against the IRS
The IRS paid out an estimated $5 billion in fake tax returns in the 2013 tax filing season, . The report highlighted criticism from lawmakers urging the agency to ramp up efforts to stop identity theft and tax fraud. 

"In one case, the IRS received over 2,000 returns from a single address – paying out over $3.3 million in refunds," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a statement. "That is not just a simple error, that is clear mismanagement. IRS must ensure that all is being done to stop detect fraudulent payments, protect hard-earned taxpayer dollars, and stop the crime of tax fraud."

To lower the risk of fraud affecting taxpayers and the IRS, the GAO recommended that W-2 filing deadlines be moved to Jan. 31, which it argues could help the IRS detect identity theft fraud. 

With the prevalence of identity theft scams heading into the 2015 tax filing season, there are some tips taxpayers could follow to protect themselves, including:

  • File electronically. The IRS suggests that consumers should file their taxes electronically. 
  • Lock your mailbox. With employers sending sensitive information like W-2s and other personal documents, consumers could lock their mailboxes to prevent thieves from accessing this mail.
  • Avoid unsolicited calls. Calls such as those described above are made to sound legitimate but typically taxpayers will not be asked to reveal their personal in unsolicited calls. 
  • Call the IRS. The IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit is available for people to contact in case they suspect they've become victims of identity theft. 

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The holidays are right around the corner. We understand the desire to give that special someone the latest tech devices out there. We also get that people have reservations about privacy and safety. Here are some of the season’s hottest gadgets with protection tips from Brian Huntley, senior information security advisor at IDT911 Consulting.

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IDT911 unveiled , a new online publication for cyber privacy, data breach and identity fraud news, on Tuesday at the second annual Privacy XChange Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The news site will strive to engage readers in a conversation about these critical security issues at a time when companies of all sizes and in nearly every industry are experiencing data breaches as a third certainty in life.

Byron Acohido, one of the nation’s most respected cybersecurity and privacy experts, will serve as Editor-In-Chief. The site is underwritten by , the nation’s premier consultative provider of identity and data risk management, resolution, and education services. ThirdCertainty.com will feature breaking and investigative news pieces with commentary from industry experts.

“Data breaches and the identity theft that flows from them is the third certainty in life, and their effects can wreak havoc on the financial health and reputation of businesses and consumers alike,” said Adam Levin, chairman and founder of IDT911 and Credit.com. “The public is thirsty for knowledge about all things privacy, and business leaders now know that a breach can easily undo years of brand equity. Everyone at some point in their lives is going to get got, very likely more than once.”
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Computers are more ubiquitous, affordable, and networked than ever, said Kevin Ashton, the entrepreneurial mind behind the Internet of Things and keynote speaker at the second annual .

What does that mean for your privacy?

“It means your privacy is not just at risk when you interact with your device, it means your privacy is at risk when you interact with the world,” said Ashton, general manager of Conserve, a division of consumer electronics giant Belkin International.

Ashton, speaking to more than 150 delegates at the conference, shared key trends that illustrate our move into an age where computers are even more prevalent and compact. First, everything is becoming networked, that is more devices are putting data onto the Internet. Second, we’ve arrived at census, the ability of these devices to gather information for themselves. (more…)

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Some industries are more negatively impacted by data breaches. For example, retail, media, and financial sectors experience a greater loss of customers, while education and health care sustain a higher cost per exposed record, according to a panel of security experts at the Privacy XChange Forum.

The panel, moderated by Deena Coffman, CEO of IDT911 Consulting, brought together Dr. Deborah C. Peel, founder and chairwoman of Patient Privacy Rights, Arthur Tisi, CIO of Natural Markets Food Group, Ali Waezzadah, vice president of information security at CBS, and Michael Young, vice president and product team manager at EverBank, to discuss “Bull’s-Eye: Why High-Risk Industries Are Data Breach Targets.”

The panelists identified the biggest security challenges they face in their respective industries: (more…)