Category Archives: News

Smart Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Smart Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

(StatePoint) More than 13 million U.S. consumers fall victim to identity theft each year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research, with more than $15 billion stolen. Fortunately for consumers, many of these crimes are preventable.

“Falling victim to identity theft can be financially devastating for many consumers, a consequence that only further emphasizes the importance of safeguarding your personal information,” says Guy Abramo, president of Experian Consumer Services.

The identity protection experts at Experian recommend the following tips to better protect yourself.

• Protect your home: Your home is your castle and identity thieves know this is where your most valuable possessions are likely stored. Diminish your vulnerability by using a safe to store sensitive information, such as birth certificates, social security cards and passports. You should also use a shredder to reduce your paper trail. Pay and immediately shred utility bills, credit card statements and other paperwork that includes your personal information.

• Be cautious at work: “Familiar fraud” is common and occurs when a victim’s identity is stolen by someone he or she knows. At work, store personal items like wallets and smartphones in a locked cabinet. Don’t copy or scan sensitive documents, as memory (more…)

Why You Need to Be Careful of Tax-Related Identity Theft

Why You Need to Be Careful of Tax-Related Identity Theft




Learn what to look for to avoid the devices that want to steal your personal information (KTRK)
Thursday, April 13, 2017 02:00PM
While there’s no perfect way to protect yourself from crooks targeting your credit card information, you can take steps to be aware of potential threats.

Skimming devices are used by criminals to secretly capture credit and debit card data from unsuspecting users. Once the credit/ debit data is captured, the data is downloaded and then used for fraudulent transactions. The data can be sold, immediately used for online purchases or re-encoding and creation of counterfeit credit/debit cards.


Portable, hand held devices where the suspect must have the device and swipe the victim’s card. These devices are typically used at a point of sale transaction such as restaurants or fast food.

Portable hand held skimmer (Houston Police Department)
Skimming devices attached to ATM machines. These devices are more sophisticated. ATM skimming devices are typically paired with a pinhole camera that captures the victim’s ATM card pin number.

Gas pumps skimming devices. Like ATM skimming devices, gas pump skimmers are more sophisticated, and require installation. Some of these devices (more…)

What kinds of people fall prey to identity theft, phishing, and hacks? It’s not who you think

What kinds of people fall prey to identity theft, phishing, and hacks? It’s not who you think

Think of an identity theft victim and a few stereotypes probably come to mind, but a new study from CBT Nuggets reveals that the majority of victims are anything but stereotypical.

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Identity theft isn’t a problem for you, right? You’re tech savvy and you’d never fall for a phishing attack or let a password fall into the wrong hands. You’re confident that your online identity is safe, but that confidence could be your digital undoing.

It might seem counterintuitive, but according to a study from CBT Nuggets self-identified (more…)

Statistics offer look at identity theft

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Courtesy of the Canton Regional and Greater West Virginia Better Business Bureau

The 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy and Research, revealed that the number of identity victims increased from 13.1 million victims in 2015 to 15.4 million in 2016. This is a record high since Javelin Strategy and Research began tracking identity fraud in 2003. The study also shows that despite the efforts of the industry, scammers successfully stole $16 billion from consumers, up from $15 billion in just one year.

Identity theft can happen to anyone and can come in numerous forms. Even with advances in technology in recent years and more individuals taking measures to protect their identities, it remains a widespread issue. “There are several ways fraudsters can steal a person’s identity, including data breach, stolen credit card information and stolen bank account information,” says Kimberly Thompson, director of external communications. “The Identity Theft Resource Center has devised a helpful guide to protecting ourselves using the word SHRED.”

S trengthen passwords. Use at least eight characters, alpha numerics, symbols and upper and lower case letters.

H andle personal (more…)

How to protect yourself from tax identity theft

How to protect yourself from tax identity theft

KANSAS CITY – As Americans continue to file tax returns this month, a staggering number of taxpayers will find out they’re the victims of tax identity theft.

“You may not even know that you’ve been the victim of tax identity theft until you actually file your tax return and it gets rejected because the return has already been filed on your behalf,” said DeAnn Gould-Lancaster, an enrolled agent with H&R Block in Kansas City.

Tax identity theft can happen to anyone. In fact, billions of dollars have been stolen from taxpayers just over the last few years according to the IRS. And it’s not a problem that’s easily fixed.

“It could result in months, even years, of a delay in the IRS resolving that issue for you,” said Gould-Lancaster.

Through a variety of ways, including phishing emails or physical robbery of your social security card, criminals can get ahold of your personal information before fraudulently filing your tax return, stealing your money.

Fortunately the IRS has spent time and resources fighting this type of theft over the past two years, significantly reducing the number of new people reporting stolen (more…)

Tax Identity Theft: Tips and Tricks To Stay Secure

Tax Identity Theft: Tips and Tricks To Stay Secure

04/05/2017 10:31 am ET

Every year, tax-related crimes affect millions of Americans. These crimes usually involve thieves stealing Social Security numbers (SSN) to file fraudulent tax returns and receive cash refunds. In many cases, the victims discover what’s happened after the IRS rejects their claim. Even if you’re not due a return this tax season, you can still become a victim of tax identity theft.

Though the IRS is working to crack down on identity theft and tax refund fraud, it’s reported there were more than 42,000 fraudulent tax returns for 2015. Those returns amounted to a staggering $227 million claimed in fraudulent refunds. While no one is immune to tax-related fraud, there are several easy steps you can take to minimize your risk.

File Early

During tax season, remember the adage, “the early bird catches the worm.” By the second or third week in January, most employers will send out tax forms. As soon as your state and federal taxes are available, go ahead and file them. Businesses send tax documents via mail, often with “tax documents enclosed” printed on the envelope and this can be an attractive target for identity thieves. By using a mailbox (more…)

Your Guide to Beating the Crooks

Your Guide to Beating the Crooks

Our experts reveal the secrets to avoiding scams and rip-offs

6 fraud experts

Our fraud prevention experts comprise a real-life League of Justice (left to right): Kevin Mitnick, Frank Abagnale, Gerri Walsh, Doug Shadel, Karl A. Racine, Sid Kirchheimer.


ONE IN 10 AMERICANS will fall prey to phone scams this year, and millions more will be ripped off online or in person. Older Americans are prime targets for scam artists. It’s time to stop the bad guys. To help, the Bulletin assembled an all-star antifraud team (pictured above) to reveal the top scams of 2017 and tell you how to defend your home, investments and identity, and how to be safer when you shop or travel.

Fraud costs Americans tens of billions of dollars a year, and the crimes keep getting more brazen and sophisticated. Don’t become a victim. Take action. In this special report, you’ll learn how.

Identity Theft

Watch out for these common scams and keep your identity safe.
By Kevin Mitnick, hacking expert and author of The Art of Invisibility.

Home hazards

How to protect yourself from popular home scams.
By Sid Kirchheimer, anti-fraud crusader and author of AARP Bulletin’s Scam Alert column.

Investment scams

Sophisticated sales techniques are just the trappings of (more…)

Tips to avoid identity theft

Tips to avoid identity theft

  • Courtesy of the Canton Regional and Greater West Virginia Better Business Bureau
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According to the FBI, identity theft is the fastest-growing white-collar crime in the United States. Nowadays, when your purse or wallet gets stolen, the cash inside may not be the only thing a thief wants to steal. Additionally, during the course of a busy day, you share this information when making transactions in person, over the telephone and online to buy goods and services. If this sensitive information falls into the hands of a criminal, it may be used to steal your financial identity.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or some other piece of your personal information to apply for a credit card, make unauthorized purchases, gain access to your bank accounts or obtain loans under your name. Unfortunately, most people do not know that they have been victims of identity theft until charges have appeared on credit card bills or loans are denied for a loan because unpaid bills appear on their credit report.

Tips to avoid identity (more…)