It's My Lucky Day

If you were to comb through my e-mails today, you'd see that it's been a very lucky day.

  • First, a widow I don't know told me that she wants me to be the beneficiary of a $3.5 million lump sum. She asks that I donate most of it to charity, but I can keep whatever I deem as fair. All I have to do is send her my bank account info so she can make the deposit. 
  • Next, a SECOND widow I don't know sent me a note that she's about to pass away, but that she has $40 million she's willing to deposit into my bank account. Like the first widow, she is asking me to donate the money to charity, but to keep whatever I see fit. All I have to do is send HER my bank account info for her to make the deposit. 
  • Also, apparently during the Olympics, my e-mail address was entered into a competition sponsored by a British Company. Guess what... I WON!!!!! And now, all I have to do is supply my bank account information, and this company will simply deposit $750,000 into my account. 
  • Finally, some company asked me to send them $95 as an advance (for... um, something?), and they said that they will send me $5,000 per day via Western Union, for the next 104 business days. 
It's over $44 million dollars, just for getting online this morning*. 

I'm retiring. Today. 

Look, it's pretty obvious from reading these that they are scams, and since you're on the PrivacyGuard website, we expect that these aren't something you'll fall for (you know it's important to protect yourself). 

However, there's a reason that these e-mail continue to be sent, and that's because people actually DO fall for these. To end National Protect Your Identity Week, just a gentle reminder... Don't be silly. 

*Today was a $44 million day in spam, but it doesn't hold a candle to yesterday. Yesterday was actually a $2.2 BILLION day for me... and all I had to do was send my bank account info, along with my SSN, to the world's 2nd richest woman. 

Posted by Mike

Protecting your ID is about more than Credit Reports

While we harp on credit monitoring as one of the ways folks can keep themselves safe from ID Theft, the reality is that they're just one piece of the puzzle. 

This article gives an in-depth look at a full identity takeover, that lasted a decade. It includes discussion of being turned down for a mortgage, fraudulent employment, and even the need to use a high school yearbook to prove that" you," are actually you

It's a really sobering look at one of the toughest types of theft that our trained experts help consumers to mediate.


password is Not a Strong Password

The list of the world's most popular (terrible) passwords is out, and as usual, it's cringe-inducing.

The top 3 are:

1- password
2- 123456
3- 12345678

Coming in 4th was abc123

We've posted tips about creating strong passwords in the past. As a reminder, a strong password is 12 characters, includes numbers, letters and symbols, and isn't easily traced back to you (it shouldn't be your dog's name, or the street you grew up on, for example).

It's National Protect Your Identity Week. At the very least, check out the full list of over-used passwords and make sure you're not using any of them.

Data Breaches Are Big Business

According to a report from the Identity Theft Resource Center last week, we're closing in on 10 million records exposed in 2012.

The numbers indicate that breaches occur at all types of institutions:

  • 3.4 million records stolen from businesses
  • 2 million stolen from educational facilities
  • 2 million stolen from the military/government facilities
  • 2 million from healthcare providers and institutions
As we "celebrate" National Protect Your Identity Week, just remember, your personal information is always at risk. 

National Protect Your Identity Week

This week is National Protect Your Identity Week.

To "celebrate," we will be posting tips that can help you protect your ID, both here on the blog, and on the PrivacyGuard Twitter feed.

Happy National Protect Your Identity Week!

The first tip is an oldie, but a goodie:

Be certain to shred any documents that have personal information on them before throwing them away. This includes junk mail!

College breach larger than previously reported

Last Thursday, we highlighted a large breach at Northwest Florida State College. A report over the weekend claims that the breach has impact over 300,000 people, including students, alumni and faculty.

The latter link includes of list of some of the highest risk universities for data breach. NYU, George Mason University and Harvard are among those with the most risk.

More than 200,000 students’ data breached at Northwest Florida State College

A computer breach at Northwest Florida State College has potentially exposed data of 200,000 students and some of the university’s top employees.  It is reported by CNN, that about 50 employees have already reported issues of identity theft, including the college’s president.

 Check out our tips for college students to protect their identities. 

Realtors Beware

In what appears to be similar to many of the Tax ID Theft scams that happen every year, The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is warning that there are scams targeting Realtors and other professionals who have state licenses.

You can read the full story here:

Hackers Breach 53 Universities

According to the New York Times, thousands of personal records from 53 universities were posted online Monday in a data breach.  The hackers responsible for the breach are calling themselves Team GhostShell, and have also been responsible for a previous Twitter breach.  Some of the universities affected in this breach include Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins.

 In previous blog posts we have highlighted the importance for college students to monitor their credit, and protect their identity. This large scale data breach reminds us that college students should be vigilant about protecting their credit.  Here are some helpful tips for students to use while attending school.

Four Possible Ways Identity Theft Can Immediately Impact Your Credit

This article posted on September 26th, discusses the four possible immediate affects identity theft can have on your credit. 

  1. Higher balances on existing accounts
  2. New Accounts
  3. Late Payments
  4. Inquiries
It is wise to proactively monitor your credit for any of these possible changes indicating identity theft.  The sooner you catch suspicious activity, the quicker you can resolve potential threats to your credit!