4 seniors: Protecting yourself from identity theft

http://kfor.com/2017/07/20/4-seniors-protecting-yourself-from-identity-theft/

4 seniors: Protecting yourself from identity theft

OKLAHOMA CITY – The government is in the process of removing social security numbers from Medicare cards, but with 58 million beneficiaries, it can be a huge task.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will start sending the new cards next year, but it will take until December of 2019 for all cards to be replaced.

Under the new system, an 11-digit character will replace the current claim number on your card, but your Medicare benefits won’t change.

Officials say scam artists are already hard at work. Some Medicare recipients report getting calls from scamsters who tell them that they must pay for the new card. They then ask for their checking account and Medicare card numbers. If you get one of these calls, don’t give out either number.

Until you receive a new card, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse recommends that you carry your Medicare card only when you visit a health care provider for the first time. Otherwise, make a photocopy of your card and cut it down to wallet size. Then take a black marker and cover the last four digits of your SSN and carry that instead (more…)

Top 8 Reasons to Shred your Documents

Top 8 Reasons to Shred your Documents

Paper shredding and document destruction is very important this day and age. There are serious dangers to not properly disposing of your documents in a secure fashion. The following is a list of reasons why you should shred your confidential documents.

1. Identity Theft:
According to a recent article written by MSN, identity theft affects 11 million people a year, at a cost of $54 billion. In order to avoid becoming a statistic shredding is imperative, and hiring a shredding service, like Mobile Record Shredders will help you dispose of your confidential documents safely and securely.

2. Old Tax Returns:
Most people save their tax returns in the chance that they get audited. After three years of returns you are free to throw them away. Tax information has confidential information included on it and after three years can be adequately disposed of.

3. Old Photo IDs:
If you like to save your IDs, such as college IDs, security badges from old employers or even old state IDs, consider using a document destruction service to shred them. While photo IDs alone aren’t enough to steal your identity, the information included on the ID could be used against you in a larger scheme.

4. (more…)

Why It’s Important to Report Identity Theft and How to Do It

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-its-important-to-report-identity-theft-and-how_us_596e4c93e4b05561da5a5b16

Why It’s Important to Report Identity Theft and How to Do It

07/18/2017 02:01 pm ET

LESIA_G/BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM

By Jocelyn Baird, NextAdvisor.com

Identity theft is a crime that a shocking amount of Americans face at one point or another in their lives, thanks in part to the rise in data breaches which spread personal information far and wide for criminals to easily get their hands on. Add in other methods of identity theft, such as familiar fraud, and you’ve got the recipe for a whole lot of trouble. No matter how your identity is misused, one of the most important things you should do after you discover it is to report identity theft. It can be easy to convince yourself that it doesn’t matter, but there are a good number of reasons why it’s important to report identity theft as soon as possible. We outline why you should always sound the alert, as well as how you can go about doing so.

Why you shouldn’t stay quiet about identity theft

According to a 2017 study on fraud released by Javelin Strategy & Research, fraud showed a sustained increase in 2016, jumping 16% to affect 6.15% of consumers, up from 5.30% in 2015. As a result, an additional 2 million Americans were victimized, and it’s likely that (more…)

Federal Tax Treatment of Employer-Provided Identity Protection Services

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/federal-tax-treatment-of-employer-32111/

Federal Tax Treatment of Employer-Provided Identity Protection Services

 

In the wake of several recent high-profile security breaches, employers are increasingly viewing identity theft protection as an essential employee benefit for employees. According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2016 voluntary benefits and services (VBS) survey, identity theft protection, offered by 35 percent of employers in 2015, could double to nearly 70 percent by 2018. Recognizing the changing needs of the workforce, employer-provided identity theft protection typically includes some form of coverage for financial losses (which can include lost wages) as well as case management services for victims of identity theft.

Given its record growth in importance, a reminder of the tax treatment of employer-provided identity protection services is well timed. Previously, only employees in the aftermath of a data breach could treat identity theft monitoring as a nontaxable event. However, in early 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it would treat identity theft protection as a nontaxable, non-reportable benefit for any employee, regardless of whether they experienced a data breach. According to Announcement 2016-02, individual taxpayers need not include the value of such benefits in their taxable income, and employers are not required to report their value on information returns, such as Form W-2 or (more…)

Residents of these states are most vulnerable to identity theft

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/residents-of-these-states-are-most-vulnerable-to-identity-theft-2017-07-07

Residents of these states are most vulnerable to identity theft

Published: July 7, 2017 8:33 a.m. ET

Higher-earning residents tend to be at higher risk of becoming victims

Marc Serota/Getty Images
Florida’s high populations of senior citizens and children make it vulnerable to identity theft.
By

MARIALAMAGNA

REPORTER

If you or your neighbors have been victims of identity theft recently, there’s a pretty good chance you live in Florida.

The Sunshine state is the most vulnerable in the U.S. for identity theft, according to a recent analysis from the personal-finance website SmartAsset. Florida was followed by Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Connecticut. The site ranked each state based on factors including Federal Trade Commission data on how many consumers complained about identity theft and identity fraud in 2015, per 100,000 residents.(Identity theft and identity fraud are similar terms and both used to refer to crimes that involve wrongfully obtaining and using another person’s personal data for crimes of deception.)

The top five states all had more than 550 complaints about identity fraud per 100,000 residents, and Florida topped the list with 1,510. Maryland had 749 complaints about identity fraud per 100,000 residents and also ranked high for household income, with 49.8% of households making more than $74,999, compared to 29.8% of Floridians.

Rank State Identity theft complaints per (more…)

How to protect your child from identity theft

http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/how-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft/article_cdb614b0-a5e3-5978-8281-4aa5d5a3cff8.html

How to protect your child from identity theft

  • Suzanne Woolley Bloomberg

Alan Brill has scoured computers for intelligence left by Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait. He has probed a bank in Bosnia suspected of funding ethnically targeted mass murder. He has investigated the work of hackers who got inside the 2008 presidential campaign networks of Barack Obama and John McCain.

What’s on his radar now? Your kids.

As school ends and camp and summer jobs begin, scammers are after their identities, which can be teased out from information given in application forms. Identity thieves can use a child’s Social Security number, for example, to “apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live,” the Federal Trade Commission warns on its website.

“When you think about kids, in some ways they have the most vulnerable identities, but they are the ones people think about least,” said Brill, senior managing director for cybersecurity and investigations at the New York security firm Kroll Inc. “It’s kind of a perfect storm for the bad guys.”

Kids’ identities, which can be used for a long time, are low-hanging fruit. In addition to requesting a (more…)

Identity theft an overlooked wrinkle of illegal immigration

http://www.jacksonsun.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/07/03/identity-theft-overlooked-wrinkle-illegal-immigration/444863001/

 

Identity theft an overlooked wrinkle of illegal immigration

JOE GUZZARDI, CAGLE CARTOONS SYNDICATEPublished 5:30 a.m. CT July 3, 2017 | Updated 5:30 a.m. CT July 3, 2017

 1LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

 

 

According to a recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration audit, the labor market includes a shocking 1.4 million employed illegal aliens who in 2015 used falsified or stolen Social Security numbers to get hired. Not only have the illegal immigrants committed a crime by unlawfully entering the United States, but identity theft through fraudulent Social Security number misuse is a felony.
Identity theft, a little discussed criminal component of illegal immigration, creates major headaches for the citizens and legal permanent residents who must explain to the IRS why their tax filings omitted income they never earned.
Inspector General J. Russell George understated the inconvenience identity theft creates for innocent taxpayers when he said in a statement that it represents a “significant burden.” The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) significantly complicates the problem. The ITIN was created for those who don’t have — and aren’t eligible for — a Social Security number. It is used by aliens who of course are ineligible for Social Security numbers. But their W-2 forms submitted to employers include valid Social (more…)

Why You Should Never Go Online Without Using A VPN

http://www.thedailybeast.com/why-you-should-never-go-online-without-using-a-vpn

 

Why You Should Never Go Online Without Using A VPN

Prevent your personal data from mining by the government and hackers alike

A few months ago, Congress voted to remove regulations prohibiting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling the browsing history and app usage details of customers without first asking for consent. This groundbreaking decision shatters the notion that Internet users can safely surf in anonymity. To be clearer, imagine there’s a portfolio that contains a wealth of incredibly personal information about you: where you live, your interests, your sexual orientation, your religion, information about your family—even your social security number and financial information. Congress’s actions mean your portfolio, which does exist, is about to be for sale.

Luckily, there’s still a way to maintain your online privacy. More and more people are turning to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to simultaneously conceal their online activity from ISPs—the ones who may now gather your information to sell it—and malicious hackers alike. A VPN works to encrypt your online data, including the websites you visit and the content you view. This encryption means that your browsing data will appear like gibberish to your ISP and anyone else looking to sniff your data.

Interested? There (more…)

How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-29/how-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft

How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

Kids’ identities are low-hanging fruit for hackers. Here are two experts on keeping them secure.

Alan Brill has scoured computers for intelligence left by Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait. He has probed a bank in Bosnia suspected of funding ethnically targeted mass murder. He has investigated the work of hackers who got inside the 2008 presidential campaign networks of Barack Obama and John McCain.

What’s on his radar now? Your kids.

As school ends and camp and summer jobs begin, scammers are after their identities, which can be teased out from information given in application forms. Identity thieves can use a child’s Social Security number, for example, to “apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live,” the Federal Trade Commission warns on its website.

“When you think about kids, in some ways they have the most vulnerable identities, but they are the ones people think about least,” said Brill, senior managing director for cybersecurity and investigations at the New York security firm Kroll Inc. “It’s kind of a perfect storm for the bad guys.”

Kids’ identities, which can be used for a long time, are low-hanging fruit. In addition to requesting a Social Security (more…)

To avoid identity theft, lead a double life

Published: June 28, 2017 5:02 a.m. ET

6 strategies to avoid being a target

Warner Bros./ Everett Collection
Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent. To avoid their archenemies, superheroes lead double lives.

By

ADAMLEVIN

A recent Experian study found that most people still have a lot to learn about the risk of identity theft. The majority of those surveyed felt like they were safe from identity theft, but not for the right reasons. The most popular misconception was that scammers, phishers and identity thieves only target the rich and possibly famous.

In reality, identity thieves target low-hanging fruit. To an identity thief, we’re all Kim Kardashian.

More than half of the respondents didn’t think they’d make a good target for scammers because of bad credit. This is also a misconception, since a crook will generally have zero scruples about taking over your credit accounts (even with their crippling interest rates), and making them even more impossible to manage by further damaging your credit.

What makes a good target?

The number one criterion is whether or not personally identifiable information (PII) has been compromised in a data breach, but there are other ways that we expose (and overexpose) ourselves. One of the most common ways is (more…)