Archive for the ‘Identity theft prevention tips’ Category

Strip-cut V.S. Cross-cut Paper Shredders, Which will keep you Safer?

Monday, October 12th, 2009

For those of you that pay attention to identity theft news know the importance of destroying documents that could have sensitive information on them. Is just shredding your documents enough? Which shredder should you buy? One that cuts documents into strips or one that cut documents into squares. Could someone if they really wanted to put your documents back together?

I know this sounds ridiculous but people have been known to put together shredded documents to get the private information off of them. I know what you might be thinking who would do that? Meth addicts thats who. Believe it or not identity theft rings have been known to employ meth addicts to dumpster dive and get document and put them back together. In return they get the drugs they are addicted to. Meth addicts can stay up for days at a time and can stay focused for long periods of time.

All this is to say that just because you cut your documents into strips doesn’t mean they are safe. The advantage of a cross-cut shredder is that it cuts your documents vertical and horizontal. This turns your documents into confetti which is considerably harder to put back together than the strips. If you are really serious about keeping your documents secure after shredding them a cross-cut shredder would be a good step in that direction.

LifeLock review: Some search terms are infectious

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Just like the phrase “open sesame” gave Ali Baba access to the thieves’ cave full of treasure, there are certain search terms that provide surfers with malware designed to commit identity theft.

New research by antivirus software company McAfee reveals search categories and search terms will take the user to malware infested web pages at least 20% of the time.

The arrived at their conclusions by analyzing the search results of 2,600 often-used terms on search engines Google, Yahoo, Live, AOL and Ask. After examining the 413,000 pages, they found some pages came with a much higher likelihood of cyber attacks.

Generally, searches within the categories of screensavers, free games, work from home, Olympics, videos, celebrities, music and new were most likely to end badly.

Specifically, the most dangerous search terms on the Internet are:

  • Word unscrambler
  • Lyrics
  • Myspace
  • Free music downloads
  • Phelps
  • Game cheats
  • Printable fill-in puzzles
  • Free ringtones
  • Solitaire

(I don’t know about you, but I’ve used at least four of those terms in the last 6 months.)

So, how do you protect your computer and, ultimately, your personal and financial information? To protect your computer, install a firewall, keep your anti-virus software up to date and stay aware of any newly released patches for your operating system. You might even consider trading in your PC for a Mac, as far fewer malware programs are written for them.

To protect your personal and financial information, consider enrolling in LifeLock’s identity theft protection services. Enroll using the LifeLock promo code DEFENSE to get the deepest discount available.

ID theft prevention: ID theft victims often attacked by family, friends

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

A common security tip is that you have someone stay at your home while attending a funeral or wake when a family member dies. The suggestion is intended to thwart robbers who follow obituaries and funeral schedules and break into family members’ homes.

Lorraine Getchius followed that advice when her husband died and had Donna Lee Heddy, her friend of 25 years, stay at her house during the wake.

Heddy admitted this week she was a fox guarding Getchius’ henhouse—an impostor who committed identity theft against a grieving widow.

Heddy confessed that she stole her friend’s credit cards and used her name and Social Security number to open new credit card accounts, according to Lehigh Valley (PA) prosecutor Lara Mammana.

She used those accounts and Getchius’ name to buy $3,000 worth of goods and services from Verizon Wireless, Dish Network, Shop NBC, Chadwicks and five other businesses, but had the goods delivered to her own address.

Though most identity theft victims never know who attacked them, 43% of respondents to an Identity Theft Resource Center survey said they knew the person who stole their identities.

  • In 19% of the cases, the perpetrator was a relative of the ID theft victim.
  • In 14% of the cases, the perpetrator was an employee of a business that held personal information of the ID theft victim.
  • In 14% of the cases, the perpetrator was a friend or roommate of the ID theft victim.
  • In 4% of the cases, the perpetrator was a coworker of the ID theft victim.
  • In 4% of the cases, the perpetrator was an ex-spouse or significant other of the ID theft victim.
  • In 1% of the cases, the perpetrator was a neighbor of the ID theft victim.