In today’s society, we have become so accustomed to the digitization of data, that sometimes we may forget how much information remains in physical format. Documents stored on a computer may still be printed as a hard copy, and there are also phone messages quick notes and other items, that can all combine to provide an opportunity for the theft of information. Companies that are targeted for economic espionage are particularly vulnerable, as well as their clients and customers, either due to carelessness on their part of that of businesses charged with gathering sensitive information. That is one reason companies, and individuals, have been turning to document destruction, a process long utilized be government agencies. Document Destruction is usually achieved with shredders in an industrial facility dedicated to that purpose.
Stories of document destruction, or paper shredding if you will, have appeared regularly in the media. In 2002, the Enron scandal exploded and it was revealed that Arthur Anderson LLP, the accounting firm that assisted Enron in falsifying their record of earnings, had shredded tons of documents.
Most businesses use paper shredding for much more legitimate reasons, such as protection against economic espionage. But companies are not the only ones that need to (more…)
It seems every day there is a data breach being reported. The latest one being a collection company for two of the top medicals labs, 19.6 MILLION clients affected.
In this breach they didn’t get your medical records, just your name, social security number and other pertinent information. That’s all. Do you really think the hackers care what medication you are on?
So now your information has been stolen, what is next?
Here are some easy steps to help mitigate potential damage:
- If you know which card is effected call that company right away. Ask them to a new account new and a new card. Change any passwords associated with that card. If you use a common password for your cards you will need to change them as well.
- Call one of the three credit bureaus and have a free one-year fraud alert placed on your account. Which ever company you call must let the other two know about the fraud alert.
- Get a free copy of your credit report by going to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
- And lastly, go to the FTC website and report your theft. You will need to fill out the online form, be as specific as possible. Create an (more…)
With Memorial weekend just we start the unofficial beginning of summer. With all the fun times we can enjoy, it is important to take just a few moments to remind everyone some simple facts.
1.) Watch what and when you post on social media. You may think that only your friends and family look at your sites, but the truth is many people can view your site without you every knowing. Post your pictures and tell people about your trip AFTER you get back. If you tell people on social media you are going away other might know you are not home.
2.) Put your mail on vacation hold. This can be done at www.usps.com, go to track and manage and you will see hold mail. A few simple questions and you won’t have mail sticking out of your box.
3.) Put your lights on a timer. Burglars like it when things are consistent. With like coming on and going off at different times will help to throw them off and make your home a less perfect target.
4.) Have a friend or neighbor check on your house every so often. And do the same for them.
While it is always nice to get away it (more…)
Tax season is here, and though you technically have until April 15 to file your returns, you might want to submit yours sooner than that — at least if you want to avoid potential identity theft (and a whole lot of hassle).
Tax-related identity theft is a growing problem in America, and the more security breaches, information hacks and digital business we do as a society, the more consumers who fall victim to it. In fact, in 2016 alone, thieves stole more than $21 billion in tax refunds as a result of this simple, yet clever, form of identity theft.
Have you fallen victim to Tax ID Theft and need help dealing with the financial ramifications? Or just want to know ways to prevent it from happening to you? This guide can help.
What is Tax-Related Identity Theft?
Tax identity theft occurs when someone files a tax return using your Social Security Number. In some cases, thieves do this in order to claim a fraudulent tax refund. In others, they may have used your SSN to obtain employment. When this occurs, their employer will report all income to the IRS using that SSN. When you don’t report that same income on your own return, the IRS will (more…)
Curiosity killed the cat is the way the saying goes, however in this case curiosity got a whole bunch of people fired.
In an unfortunate case of a little curiosity dozens of people were fired for snooping into the medical records of Jussie Smollet at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
When you go to ANY medical professional or facility your medical records are suppose to be private. Certain instances can cause your records to go to other individuals but we are not going into that here.
HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, provided for your protection against unauthorized access to your records.
Many different types of companies have their own policy against unauthorized access of company records for which violating these rule can and does get you immediately terminated for cause.
Whether or not your company has such rules the best thing is to never go snooping for information you are not authorized to have. And if you are authorized remember you are held to a high confidence level.
So as they say in the old gangster movies “you don’t know nothin.”
How often do you currently check your bank account? Only when the statement comes in or, for some of us, even longer. Nothing is more frustrating than thinking you have money in your account only to have your card declined while you are out shopping due to someone getting to your account first.
Today it seems, just about everyone has their information out on the dark web due to the hacking events we hear everyday on the news. But what about the ones we don’t hear? Most of the time, the hacking has taken place long before you are notified.
One easy habit to get into is to check you bank account every week for any discrepancies. I have gotten into the habit of checking my account as part of my morning routine. That way I can catch any suspicious activity before it ruins my day and I also know my bank balance.
by Seena Gressin
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Marriott International says that a breach of its Starwood guest reservation database exposed the personal information of up to 500 million people. If your information was exposed, there are steps you can take to help guard against its misuse.
According to Marriott, the hackers accessed people’s names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, gender, Starwood loyalty program account information, and reservation information. For some, they also stole payment card numbers and expiration dates. Marriott says the payment card numbers were encrypted, but it does not yet know if the hackers also stole the information needed to decrypt them.
The hotel chain says the breach began in 2014 and anyone who made a reservation at a Starwood property on or before September 10, 2018 could be affected. Starwood brands include W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, and other hotel and timeshare properties.
The company set up an informational website, https://answers.kroll.com, and a call center, 877-273-9481, to answer questions. It says affected customers also can sign up for a year of free services that will monitor websites that criminals use to share people’s (more…)
This blog is a summary of a 2017 study commissioned by IBM and undertaken by the Ponemon Institute, LLC on the cost of a data breach that can be found at https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach
A data breach is an event – either accidental or intentional – that discloses personal, financial and/or any other private information of a business or an individual that potentially puts the entity at risk of some type of loss.
The principal causes of a data breach that compromises records and potentially puts personal and business information at risk are:
- Criminal attacks
- Human error by an employee
- Business process or IT failures
The average cost to a financial institution for each compromised record in 2016 was $245.
The average cost of detection and escalation incurred by the U.S. firms following a material data breach in 2016 was $1.07 million.
Factors that may decrease the cost of a data breach include:
- Participation in threat sharing
- Use of security analytics
- The recruitment and retention of knowledgeable personnel
The probability of a material data breach occurring at any organization over the next 24-month period is estimated to be 26.8%.
Contact American Document Destruction today to learn more on how our service can assist you or your business’ avoid a data breach.
This is a wonderful time of the year. Everyone is shopping and giving to those in need. Just be careful that you are not giving your information to the wrong people.
- Shop at site you know are reliable. Make sure the site you are going to doesn’t have any funny symbols or numbers in the address. Identity thieves create site that have website addresses that can look very close to the real thing. They may even have links to different departments showing the companies merchandise but all they are after is your credit card information.
- Watch out for pop-ups that ask for your credit information. All reliable websites have a checkout tab that will take you to a secure pay area. When in doubt close out and call the store to verify a site.
- Never EVER give out your password to a website after you have logged into the site. IF this happens, you have been redirected to a fact site.
Remember, while this is a great time of year, identity thieves are always looking for way to make it a great time at your expense.