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UK #Citizens In #Danger Of #Identity Theft Due To #Negligence Towards #Cyber Security

Source: National Cyber Security News

A recent survey has found that 52% of Britons aged 18-25 are using the same password for many online services, increasing the likelihood of identity theft. It was also found that the majority had sent critical data such as bank details or passport copies and driving licences via messaging systems. Javvad Malik, Security Advocate at AlienVault commented below.

“Security training or raising awareness of best practices shouldn’t be limited to just corporate employees, rather should extend to all members of the public starting from schools.

It is important that the dangers and risks are understood by all in order to change behaviours.

On the flip side, service providers have their part to play by designing user interface in ways to encourage better security behaviour, for example, making two-factor authentication readily available and easy to understand, as well as having internal monitoring controls to detect where fraudulent or suspicious activity is taking place.”

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5 #Reasons Why a #Credit Freeze Isn’t Enough to Help Protect #Against #Identity Theft

Source: National Cyber Security News

When a data breach happens, it’d be great if you could simply prevent identity theft with a credit freeze. The truth is, nothing can prevent identity theft, although there are things you can do to help protect against it.

Still, with identity thieves taking aim at everything from tax refunds to bank accounts, it’s worth asking the question: “Is a credit freeze a good idea?

It can be. But it may not be enough. Here’s why.

When your personal information is exposed in a data breach, you could face a greater chance of becoming a victim of identity theft. More of your information could be out there. And if it is, it might be for sale on the dark web for criminals to acquire.

Consider this statistic: You are 11 times more likely to be a victim of identity fraud if you are notified of a breach. That’s according to the 2017 Identity Theft Study by Javelin Strategy & Research.

No one wants their personal information stolen in a data breach. But if it happens to you, you’ll probably want to do whatever you can to help protect yourself against identity theft.

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Top 10 #Tips to #Protect you from #Identity Theft

Source: National Cyber Security News

Identity thieves use your personal information without your knowledge. The thief may use your name to recover debt and even commit crimes. The following tips can help you reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

  1. Protect your social security number from identity theft.

Do not carry your social security card in your wallet. If your health plan (except Medicare) or another card uses your social security number, ask for a different number from the company. For more information, see your Social Security number: Key to controlling identity theft pages.

Prompt to protect your SSN and identifiable information

  • Keep your card and any other files showing your social security number in a safe place; do not always carry your card or other documents to display your number.
  • Be careful to share your number, even if you are required; share your SSN only when absolutely necessary.

Protect your personal financial information at home and on the computer.

  • Check your credit report once a year.
  • Check your Social Security income report annually,
  • Protect your PC by using firewalls, antispam / virus software, updating security patches, and changing the password for your Internet account.

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How #Parents Can Protect Their #Children From Infant #Identity Theft

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

An identity thief can wreck credit scores, drain bank accounts, and cause underserved legal troubles. But the victims of identity theft aren’t always adults with established finances.

In fact, according to Robert Chappell Jr, the author of “Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know,” around 1.

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New #identity theft #scheme: #scammers use #US Postal #Service to #steal #information

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Stepahnie Vagim says it was her quick thinking mailman who saved her from identity theft just two days before Christmas.

Mail theft victim, Stephanie Vagim said, “Apparently someone went online and requested a vacation hold under my address that wasn’t me. He didn’t recognize the name so he brought me the mail.”

In the stack, letters for lines of credit – that a scammer was itching to get their hands on.

“The JC Penny, the Kohls Community Bank. Someone could have furnished their own home brought Christmas gifts for everyone they know and all under my name.”

And Vagim says it was all executed through their USPS website. The thief filled out the “request hold mail service” form to stop deliveries to her home.

The person, according to the form, planned on picking the mail up from the post office without Vagim ever knowing.

We spoke over the phone with a USPS Postal Inspector. He says this is not the first time a crime like this has happened.

“We are seeing this we’ve had similar crimes take place in the Central Valley in the Sacramento in the Bay Area and the key is the minute you realize something is not right say something,” Jeff Fitch said.

Meantime while Vagim is warning people of this new fraudulent scheme, she is hoping the government will find a way to stop it from happening so easily.

The post New #identity theft #scheme: #scammers use #US Postal #Service to #steal #information appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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Taking #Facebook #Quizzes Could Put You at #Risk for #Identity Theft

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

From phishing schemes to a thief pilfering your passport, there are plenty of ways to fall victim to identity theft. And now, participating in Facebook quizzes is one of them. As ABC News reports, the seemingly harmless surveys that populate your feed could wind up providing unscrupulous hackers with the answers to your online security questions.

Popular Facebook quizzes often ask users to answer a series of sharable personal questions, ranging from the name of their pet to their birth city. Some people see them as a fun way to bond with friends, or a way to make new ones. But as one local police department in Massachusetts recently noted on Facebook, many of these queries are similar—if not identical—to security questions used by banks and other institutions.

“Please be aware of some of the posts you comment on,” the Sutton Police Department in Massachusetts wrote in a cautionary message. “The posts that ask what was your first grade teacher, who was your childhood best friend, your first car, the place you [were] born, your favorite place, your first pet, where did you go on your first flight … Those are the same questions asked when setting up accounts as security questions. You are giving out the answers to your security questions without realizing it.”

Hackers can use these questions to build a profile and hack into your accounts or open lines of credit, the department said. They could also trick you into clicking on malicious links.

Experts say it’s OK to take part in a Facebook quiz, but you should never reveal certain personal facts. Take quizzes only from respected websites, and always carefully vet ones that ask for your email address to access the poll or quiz. And while you’re at it, consider steering clear of viral memes, like this one from 2017, which asked Facebook users to name memorable concerts (yet another common security question).

The post Taking #Facebook #Quizzes Could Put You at #Risk for #Identity Theft appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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Identity #theft alert: How 77,0000 Canadians lost $99 million last year in #extortion, #phishing and #romance scams

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Identity #theft alert: How 77,0000 Canadians lost $99 million last year in #extortion, #phishing and #romance scams

Randy Chester was visiting one of his usual second-hand haunts this summer, a Value Village in Toronto’s east end, when he spied a beautiful shirt and vest for $20. Excited about his new finds, he tapped his debit card, only to be shocked by the resulting message: Insufficient funds.

“I was upset because I knew I had money,” he recalls. He tried the card again at a variety store, a restaurant and then at an ATM belonging to his bank, CIBC, and got the same message. When he called the bank to see what was going on, they asked him if he had been shopping at Yorkdale Mall in the city’s north end. There was a $1,500 purchase debited from his account, but Chester, a cancer patient on disability who uses a walker, had been at a medical appointment at the Princess Margaret Cancer Hospital that day.

“It’s like, hello!” he jokes. “Value Village, yes. Yorkdale Mall, no. I couldn’t get there with my walker.”

Then he remembered that a young man had called him on his flip-phone a few days before, claiming to be from CIBC and saying there was a problem with his debit card. Chester knew better than to talk to anyone about his banking information and hung up. The next day, he got a text message, purportedly from CIBC, that had the last four digits of his debit card number in it, and asked him to text back “Y” for yes if it was his account. He assumed because they had his number already, it was legitimate. He hit Y and send.

“The bank told me they would never send a text message,” says Chester, 61. “I didn’t know that.”

Once he reported the problem, the bank locked down his account, reversed the charges, and gave him a new bank card. But it’s impossible to tell how the scammers got his bank information, which is often the case when it comes to identity theft, says Jessica Gunson, the acting call centre and intake unit manager at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“It certainly sounds like a variation on phishing,” she says, but notes that it’s unusual because the thief already had Chester’s bank information when he or she sent the text.

“We do know thieves have been known to dumpster dive, and it underlines the importance of having a paper shredder in the home and in the office. We need to treat our personal information like cash.” For that reason, experts advise leaving your Social Insurance Number card and birth certificate in a safe place at home, since thieves can do a lot of damage with your name, birth date and SIN.

The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre, jointly managed by the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP, the federal Competition Bureau, manages the central database for fraud complaints. Investigators across the country rely on its vast stores of data to compare notes on mass-marketing fraud and online scams. In 2016, it logged more than 77,000 complaints that resulted in losses of more than $99-million, with the top scams by complaint involving extortion, phishing, and fake computer-service companies. The frauds that resulted in the most money lost were romance scams, at more than $20-million.

Though Gunson could not begin to guess how criminals got Chester’s information, she said it is important never to leave a paper receipt of a transaction in or near the banking machine, and to use online banking to check balances, rather than printing them out at ATMs.

“When it comes to identity theft and identity fraud, the difficulty is in pinpointing the source. Unless (investigators) find a boiler room where people are mass producing ID, it is difficult to determine on an individual basis where it is coming from.”

The good news is most cases of identity theft and identity fraud result in little financial loss to the victims, but Gunson says it takes time and effort to untangle the mess.

In Montreal, actor Paul Burke figures someone used a surveillance camera or fake keypad or card reader to obtain his PIN, which they used to empty his account of $700 in the summer of 2010. He called the bank, which contacted the RCMP. And then he waited.

“ I called them back after a week and I said, ‘I have zero money. I need my money back,” says Burke, 48.

Within a day or two of that call he had the money in his account, but to this day he has no clue what happened.

“It was so bizarre. I consider it a one-off, but obviously I should be more careful.”

The post Identity #theft alert: How 77,0000 Canadians lost $99 million last year in #extortion, #phishing and #romance scams appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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A Student’s #Guide on How to Help #Protect Against #Identity Theft

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A Student’s #Guide on How to Help #Protect Against #Identity Theft

Your college career is supposed to be about finding yourself and forging your identity—not having it stolen. But, in the United States, over 15 million consumers experienced identity fraud in 2016.

There’s a new victim of identity fraud every two seconds, according to the 2017 Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research. Many of those victims could be college students.

The risk you face? A thief who steals your identity can commit crimes in your name or prevent you from getting that coveted job after graduation.

It’s smart to take steps to learn how to help protect yourself against identity theft. This guide can help. Think of it as “How to Help Protect Against Identity Theft 101.”

An identity-theft definition
What is identity theft? Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information — such as your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and more — and commits fraud in your name.

Criminals may use your personal data to take over your bank account or open new credit cards and run up debt, all while pretending to be you. They might file fake tax returns, buy or rent property, or commit a host of other crimes using your information.

As a college student, you have plenty to do without having to worry about identity theft. But, like a looming final exam, identity theft isn’t going away. Learning how to help protect yourself—and your financial future—is fast becoming a required course.

What’s in ‘A Student’s Guide’
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide:

Facts about identity theft
How students can help protect their identity
How identity theft happens—from low-tech to high-tech techniques
We’ve also included two additional sections:

A Teacher’s Guide on How to Help Protect Against Identity Theft
A Campus Police Officer’s Guide on How to Help Protect Against Identity Theft
Facts about identity theft
Here are two things you should know about identity theft: It’s big and it can affect your future.

How big? Consider these statistics:

In 2016, over 100 million hours were spent by identity fraud victims trying to resolve their issue, according to a 2017 Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research.
22 percent of students found out they had been a victim of identity fraud after being denied credit or contacted by a debt collector, according to a 2015 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research. Also, the study found students were three times more likely to be victims of identity-theft fraud than the general population.
Identity theft and your future
As for your future, you came to college to prepare for it. But if you become a victim of identity theft, you could spend hours, days, or more dealing with the mess. You also may face obstacles to starting a career and becoming financially independent.

That’s because when an identity thief commits fraud in your name, it can become part of your record. Your financial history—including an identity thief’s bogus dealings—will likely appear in your credit file. Credit bureaus store that data, and a credit file showing financial misdeeds can lead to a low credit score. A low credit score can make it hard to qualify for a variety of financial products and certain life necessities.

Lenders and other businesses typically check your credit report before deciding whether to lend you money or make other big decisions involving your future. Here are a few ways a damaged credit file can hurt you.

You may have a hard time getting approved for a credit card or loan.
You may not get a job offer from a potential employer.
You could have trouble renting an apartment.
You may be unable to get a cell phone account.
No one can prevent all identity theft. But you can take steps to help minimize the risk, and those start will helping to protect your personal information.

How students can help protect their identity
As a college student, you probably have personal information in a lot of places — in your computer, cell phone, academic file, wallet, even on the top of your desk. The goal is to protect this information.

Here’s how to help protect against identity theft from happening:

Guard your numbers. You have a lot of them — credit and debit card numbers, driver’s license number, PINs. Your Social Security number is your most valuable identifier and one of the most prized by identity thieves. Share these numbers only when absolutely necessary, and only when there’s a legitimate reason to provide them. It’s a good idea to memorize your important numbers and never leave them in plain view of someone else.

Avoid public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure. That means that when you go to a café to do work on your computer, someone can intercept what you’re looking at on the web. That might include your email, browsing history and passwords. Your defense? It’s always smart to use a virtual private network. A VPN creates an encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN server. As a result, a nearby hacker can’t intercept your information. If you’re tempted to perform a financial transaction—like, buying something on the web—a VPN is essential.

Beware of shoulder surfing. Always be aware of your surroundings. Take time to make sure someone isn’t glancing over your shoulder while you enter your PIN number at an ATM or key in personal information into your cell phone. Think twice about providing a credit card number over the phone if someone is within listening distance.

Don’t overshare. Identity thieves often seek to bundle your personal information. What you post on social networks can be a rich source of information. Identity thieves can glean details from your life that could help answer security questions on websites—like, “Where were your born?” or “What’s your favorite food?”

Keep personal information in a safe place. It’s easy to leave a credit card or driver’s license lying on your desk. But colleges are social places. It’s hard to predict who might pass through your living space and potentially steal the information on those cards. It could be a friend, or a friend of a friend, or an out-of-town guest of your roommate.

Shred documents that contain personal information. A paper shredder may not have the same college appeal as, say, a refrigerator in your room. But it’s essential for shredding papers that include your personal information. For instance, you probably receive credit card offers in the mail. Don’t just toss them in the trash, where someone could retrieve them. Shred them right away.

Protect your computer from malware. Malware—short for malicious software—includes computer viruses and spyware. It can get installed on your computer or mobile device and you might not realize it. Identity thieves use malware to steal personal information and commit fraud. What to do? Install security software from a reputable company. It’s also essential to keep all your software programs up to date. Another precaution: Back up your information in case a hacker corrupts your computer.

Get savvy about online scams. Identity thieves may try to trick you into clicking on links that install malware on your computer. Or they might set up fake websites offering amazing “deals” to lure you into providing your credit card information. Stick with reputable websites. Never click on a link or an attachment from someone you don’t know.

Keep track of your credit history. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus annually. This is where you can look to see if anyone has opened an account in your name. If you see something suspicious, you can take appropriate actions. You can get your free reports at annualcreditreport.com.

Use strong passwords on all your devices. A strong password includes letters, numbers and symbols. It’s a good idea to have separate passwords for all your devices, including computer, tablet, and cellphone. Never share your password with someone else. And remember to change it periodically. Or consider using a reputable password manager. A passport manager is a software application with strong security features that manages and stores your passwords.

Mind your bank cards. Notify your bank or credit card company if you misplace your credit or ATM card. They’ll likely cancel your card and send you a replacement with a new number. Usually they will review recent transactions with you to identify any suspicious activity. As a general rule, check your bank and credit card statements regularly to make sure all activity is legitimate.

A Teacher’s Guide to How to Help Protect Against Identity Theft
As a teacher, you could have the opportunity to help protect students from identity theft.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the information in A Student’s Guide on How to Help Protect Against Identity Theft. It will help you understand how identity theft happens in college. And you can help guide students in how to minimize the risk.

A Teacher’s Guide includes a list of resources that you can share with your students to help them keep their identities safe.

Here’s a checklist of ways you can help.

Encourage students to practice smart online habits. Let students know, for instance, that not all networks on campus may be secure. If your course requires purchasing materials online, remind students to use a secure network or virtual private network (VPN). Discuss the risk of sharing personal information when students work collaboratively on projects.
Help keep your students’ numbers safe. It’s a good idea never to use a student’s Social Security number as official identifier in coursework or assignments. A student’s Social Security number is a key piece of information for identity thieves.
If appropriate, let students know there are key ways to help protect their identity. These range from checking their credit reports for suspicious accounts to never using a library or public computer to provide personal information.
Find out if your college offers any presentations or workshops on identity-theft protection. Keep a list of available resources handy.
Remind students to lock their computers and protect them with strong passwords. In general, students should never leave their computer where someone can snoop for personal information or steal it.
Point students to resources that can help provide additional information related to identity theft. Here are a few good ones:
U.S. Department of Education: Offers identity-theft prevention tips and materials.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission: Includes prevention and recovery tips. Also offers free publications in bulk.
Identity Theft Resource Center: Includes tips for students and parents.
Finally, it’s important to remind students that protecting their identities is important to their college career and future. Your identity is one of your most important assets.
A Campus Police Officer’s Guide on How to Help Protect Against Identity Theft
As a college law enforcement official, you know that your job is to keep the campus safe and secure. Helping students protect themselves against identity theft may be a crucial part of that.

Here’s a check list of things you might do:

Be familiar with A Student’s Guide to Help Protect Against Identity Theft. It will help you understand how identity theft happens in college, and how you can help students minimize the risk.
Encourage safe practices: Consider reminding students that campus theft often involves the loss of personal information—whether it involves a wallet, computer or personal documents.
Consider a policy for protecting lost devices, such as computers and cellphones that have been turned in to the campus police department. Establish a protocol for making sure the devices get back to their rightful owners.
Become an active partner in protecting against identity theft. Develop and distribute materials about what students can do avoid identity theft.
Encourage students to lock their dorm rooms or apartments when they’re away.
Point student to resources that can help provide additional information related to identity theft. Here are three good ones:
U.S. Department of Education: Offers identity-theft prevention tips and materials.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission: Includes prevention and recovery tips and facts about identity theft. Also offers free publications in bulk.
Identity Theft Resource Center: Includes tips for students and parents.

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Michigan among #states most #vulnerable to #identity theft, fraud

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Michigan among #states most #vulnerable to #identity theft, fraud

Michigan ranks among the worst states for identity theft and fraud, a new analysis by a personal finance website shows.

The report by WalletHub put Michigan at No. 6, behind California, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Florida and Georgia, and just ahead of Nevada, Texas, New York and Connecticut.

The Michigan attorney general’s office, which is charged with protecting consumers, suggested that identity theft and fraud is likely not as bad in the state as the report suggests.

“It could be underreported in other states,” Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said, challenging the report’s results. “The more people in a state, the more likely you are to be up at the top.”

“But,” she added, “the attorney general is not taking this lightly.”

October has been designated National Cyber Security Awareness Month by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

WalletHub, which is based in Washington D.C., compared all 50 states and the nation’s capital this week using a data that looked at identity theft, fraud and public policy aimed at keeping personal information out of the hands of thieves.

While Michigan ranked No. 6 overall, it was No. 8 specifically for identity theft, No. 12 for fraud, and No. 10 for public policy.

Michigan was No. 2 for the most identity theft complaints per capita, behind Washington D.C., and ahead of Florida, and No. 4 for the most fraud complaints per capita, behind, Washington D.C., Florida, and Georgia and ahead of Texas.

“Equifax has proven that absolutely no one is immune to cybercrime,” the report said. “In September 2017, the credit bureau announced that it had fallen victim to one of the biggest data breaches in recent history.”

Moreover, the WalletHub report said: “Even credit bureaus, government agencies, and financial institutions — the organizations consumers trust and expect to treat their confidential information with utmost care and security — cannot take enough precautions to prevent such attacks.”

Earlier this month, Equifax announced that 2.5 million more consumers were impacted by the breach than originally thought, bringing the total number of Michiganders with potentially compromised information to 4.6 million.

To raise awareness of identity theft, the state attorney general’s office is holding two free seminars:

  • From 12:05 to 12:50 p.m. Friday at 525 West Ottawa Street, Lansing, in the G. Mennen Williams Auditorium.
  • From 12:05 to 12:50 p.m. Wednesday at 3068 West Grand Blvd., Detroit, in Room L150.

Still, the WalletHub report warned:

“While the federal government and various businesses in recent years have taken more aggressive measures to build up our defenses, criminal strategies continue to evolve and grow in sophistication, keeping consumers vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.”

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Chinese Bitcoin exchange denies hacking rumors after theft of $2.5M

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A Chinese Bitcoin trading exchange has denied rumors that it suffered a hacking attack after its users lost a total of $2.5 million in Bitcoins to unknown actors. On 4 October 2017, OKex, a cryptocurrency exchange which functions as part of the Chinese Bitcoin company OKcoin, acknowledged that several of…

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