Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts

Three Relatively Unknown But Exploited Ways To Steal Your Identity

Protecting your identity does not necessarily end at just shredding documents or choosing strong passwords. Identity thieves can be very creative and can attack where and when you least expect it.

Here are 3 ways through which identity thieves can steal vital personal information:

1. Unsecured Wi-Fi connections:

Free Wi-Fi in a public place is great, but can also be the perfect location for identity thieves to get your personal information. How? Not all public Wi-Fi networks are properly secured, which can enable hackers to sniff out your personal information.

This does not mean that you should completely stop using free Wi-Fi services. Be sure that you have the right security programs or apps set up on your device. Consider installing software protection such as firewalls, anti-spyware and antivirus software. Avoid conducting any online banking transactions on unsecured networks, too.

2. Smartphone theft:

Losing your phone to a thief is horrible enough. However, this can even lead to another, more dangerous kind of theft on your identity. Using the personal information stored in apps, thieves can easily break into your other accounts and retrieve data that can allow them to cash in.

You may want to install an app to allow you to remotely wipe your phone or make sure you’re taking advantage of the password function on your phone. Therefore, if your phone is ever stolen, thieves may have less opportunity to get into it.

3. Public records.

While you may not be posting much of your personal information online or on social networking sites, your data can still be found on other sites.

For example, some websites have information such as full names, addresses and zip codes that can be available on their public databases. This form of data is often used to verify the identity via security questions.


Being aware of these three areas of possible ID theft vulnerability can help you cover more of your bases. It can be a challenge to secure all potential routes to your personal information, but it has to be done because the alternative of getting your identity stolen is a much worse fate.

Add Credit Awareness To Your Back To School Shopping List

If you're the parent of a student, you're probably already aware of the fact that the start of the new school year is just around the corner. And, while you may be overjoyed that your kids are heading back to the classroom, you might not be thrilled about what it can cost you. However, with a little planning, you can keep this year's school supply shopping from turning into a credit nightmare.

1. Establish a plan. Before you rush out to the stores, try to make a plan and a budget. Figure out exactly what your kids need, what you already have at home and how much you have to spend. Figuring out what you can realistically afford can help keep yourself from having to swipe your credit card for a surprisingly big payment.

2. Use discretion when dealing with the option to open retailer credit cards. Chances are you've considered the “too good to be true” credit card offer at the checkout counter. This may be tempting, but you might want to resist the temptation and stick with your original method of payment. While these upfront savings may be nice, if you can afford to pay for it now, you might save yourself from potentially racking up interest costs later.

3. Use sales tax holidays. One way to save if you're on a tight budget is to take advantage of your state's tax-free holiday. Generally held over a weekend or a whole week, you can  make school-related purchases tax free, which could save you hundreds of dollars.

Being aware of your three credit reports and scores before you hit the stores can help save you from making mistakes that will potentially negatively affect your credit score.

To make sure you're at the top of the class when it comes to your personal credit report knowledge, visit the PrivacyGuard website.

Don’t Go Into Debt This Holiday Season


It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holidays and not realize how much you’re using your credit card.  Going over your credit limit can lower your credit score, which can make for a bad case of the post-holiday blues.  Here are some tips to prevent falling into holiday debt:

  1. Set a Budget.  Allot yourself a certain amount of money geared towards holiday expenses. Don’t let yourself go over that set limit!
  2. Make a List (and check it twice)!  Write down everything your money is going towards this season whether it be gifts, holiday food, or miscellaneous items like decorations. Making a list will help you keep track of what you need, and how much you can spend towards each item.
  3. Cash, not credit.  An easy way to not go over your credit limit is to simply leave your credit card at home.  Use cash at the store, and you won’t be tempted to rack up charges on your card!

Don’t let the holiday season affect your credit score.  Follow these tips to keep your season merry and bright!


Safety Tips for Cyber Monday


Even if you survived the Black Friday shopping frenzy, it isn’t too late to make sure you protect yourself during Cyber Monday.  See 8 tips to ensure safe shopping online. 

  • Make sure your antivirus and malware protection software is up to date.
  • Update your browser.
  • Don’t click unknown links in your email.
  • Don’t use public computers and unsecured wireless connections.
  • Save or print all payment confirmations.
  • Use your credit card, not your debit card.
  • Update your passwords frequently.
  • Shop only on encrypted sites.  Websites that begin with “https” are encrypted, rather than just “http.”

 These tips should be followed during Cyber Monday (and really everyday) to help prevent identity thieves from accessing your personal information online.  Shop smart, and be safe!


More Password Tips


We routinely post about how important it is to have a strong password.  This recent article gives even more tips on how to prevent hackers from discovering your password.  Some tips are:

  • Don’t pick words that show up in the Dictionary
  • Never use the same Password for multiple sites
  • Consider using a Passphrase- a longer phrase instead of just a word
  • Use multiple browsers when surfing the web

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.

Credit Card Cloning


The Sacramento Bee published an interesting article this week about credit card cloning.  Credit card cloning is a relatively new form of credit card fraud where a person can steal your credit card’s information when you swipe your card through a “skimmer”.  Your card data is then stored and can be re-created on anything with a magnetic strip like a gift card or hotel key. 

The Javelin Strategy and Research report, states that credit card fraud has increased 87 percent since 2010, culminating in aggregate losses of $6 billion nationwide.

Read the article’s tips on how to prevent yourself from being a victim of credit card cloning. 

Here at PrivacyGuard, we agree with taking preventative steps to protect your credit and identity!


Posted by Katie

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