Tips from the Street

Last week, TheStreet.com did a great job pulling together 9 tips for protecting your Online Identity.

There are 2 more I'd like to add to the list though.

First, I'd like to borrow one more from my bio to compliment this list: Beware of free public wifi. Don't use anything labeled as "free public wifi" to log into your email, social networking or online banking accounts. Thieves create and use these unsecured networks to swipe your logon credentials.

Second, there is seemingly an endless amount of quizzes and/or apps on social networks that ask you for personal information (find your Royal Name, or some such thing). Many of them divulge personal information that can be used to retrieve your account information. So please, be careful what you're sharing.

Posted by Christine

Data Breach Roundup

• According to CryptoZone, Square Enix had a breach.
• The Boston herald reports that the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development had a breach.
• The Financial Times details challenges faced by Android Phone owners.
• Government Executive says around 4,000 federal employees have been victimized by a breach.

Lost your Debit Card?

Signal News has some tips on what to do if your debit card is stolen, so we thought it was worth passing along. Having a debit card stolen can be more difficult to rectify than having your credit card stolen, because banks can have 2 different sets of rules for who is responsible for fraudulent activities. With credit cards, the bank is responsible to cover any losses. However, this isn't the case with debit cards, and it can end up being the responsibility of the card holder to prove that theft has occurred.

Of course, it doesn't help that according to Javelin Research and Strategy, the use of debit cards is up.

Posted by Darragh

Data Breaches

Each week, we think it important to highlight data breaches that may have occurred.

• The New York Times reports that Sony had a breach.
• According to the Chicago Tribune, another large company, Michaels, the arts and crafts store, had a breach.

Tuesday May 3

We've recommended using a shredder at least, oh, a bazillion times (as a note, our consultant Frank Abagnale, recommends using a micro-cut shredder, like the ones you can find at Staples, OfficeMax, Walmart or any other number of places). And, for a majority of those times, we’ve said you should do so with any important documents you're getting rid of, as well as anything that has your address on it.

It seems like most people understand why shredding a document with information such as a credit card number of social security number is important, but many wonder why they need to shred junk mail.

The answer is actually pretty easy:

Identity thieves can strike while only having your name and address.

In one somewhat common underground scam, thieves will file a change of address form, moving all of your mail to a new address. Once this is completed, all important mail, including your credit card statements (which *do* have important account information on them) can be sent to a thief directly. At that point, a thief can take over pretty much whichever account they please.

Sounds too simple to be true, right?

Well, according to Javelin Strategy and Research, changing the physical address was the most common type of account takeover method in 2010

So remember, shredding each and every document that comes into your home with any personally identifiable information is important. Also, remember, the post office will send a change of address confirmation to both the former and "new addresses." If you see this form come to you, and you believe it is in error, contact the post office immediately.

And you can help us out by taking steps to become your own identity theft protector.

Posted by Mike